Available evidence suggests that prevalence and risk of female genital cutting/mutilation in the UK is much lower than widely presumed - policies based on exaggerated estimates are harmful to girls and women from affected communities

Saffron Karlsen*, Janet Howard, Natasha Carver, Magda Mogilnicka, Christina Pantazis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
87 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

It is widely reported that ‘tens of thousands of girls’ are living in the UK with the risk of experiencing Female Genital Cutting or Mutilation (FGC/M). This paper reviews the data on which such claims are based. It finds that the data available with which to establish the scale of such risk is both sparse and problematic, and that the numbers claimed to be at risk are considerably over-inflated. For example, data collected by the National Health Service suggests that as few as eight girls had FGC/M while resident in the UK since their records began, with as few as one or two experiencing FGC/M types 1, 2 or 3. Other data publicly available or retrieved from Freedom of Information requests to the Home Office, Crown Prosecution Service, Ministry of Justice, Department for Education, National Health Service and academic sources also suggest that the ‘tens of thousands of girls’ claim is misplaced. Current UK FGM-safeguarding approaches, though well-intentioned, appear to be based on inaccurate estimates of FGC/M prevalence and risk. Existing research shows that these approaches directly harm communities, contributing to institutional discrimination, racially/religiously-motivated victimisation and the criminalisation of innocent families. This is an issue which must be urgently addressed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Impotence Research
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute, University of Bristol, and funded in whole, or in part, by the Wellcome Trust [Grant number - R100128-117]. For the purpose of Open Access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any author accepted manuscript version arising from this submission.

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Available evidence suggests that prevalence and risk of female genital cutting/mutilation in the UK is much lower than widely presumed - policies based on exaggerated estimates are harmful to girls and women from affected communities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this