On Friday 1st February 2019 a woman become the first person in the UK to have been found guilty of female genital mutilation (FGM).
The case involved a Ugandan woman and her Ghanaian husband who took their three year old daughter to hospital with severe bleeding following what they claimed to be an incident where she was reaching for a biscuit and fell and cut herself on the edge of the kitchen cupboard. The alarm was raised by a surgeon who concluded that the girl had been cut on purpose with a scalpel.
FGM Is a harmful procedure where female genitals are deliberately cut, injured or changed for no medical reason whatsoever. It is an extremely painful practice that causes long term problems for the victim such as constant pain, bleeding, repeated infections and depression. The procedure is usually carried out on young girls between the age of infancy and the age of 15.
FGM has been illegal in the UK for over thirty years with a maximum prison sentence of 14 years but no one has ever been prosecuted until now.
There are an estimated 137,000 women and girls living with FGM in England and Wales according to City University. The Home Office has identified women from countries including Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Nigeria as most at risk.
There have been 298 FGM protection orders issued since they were first introduced in 2015 to safeguard those at risk.
If you or someone you know is at risk of FGM please contact our specialist international family department on 0191 275 2626 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blog by Ifi Archibong, Family Paralegal in the International Family Department