Mandatory reporting of female genital mutilation in children in the UK
journal contributionposted on 01.06.2018, 00:00 authored by Y Malik, A Rowland, Felicity Gerry QCFelicity Gerry QC, F M Phipps
Background While female genital mutilation (FGM) has been illegal in the UK since 1985, research estimated that in 2015 there were over 100 000 women and girls resident in the UK subjected to FGM. Aims To determine the effect of changes in the legislation of 2015, which made reporting of FGM in girls under 18 mandatory. Methods Freedom of Information requests were sent to all 45 UK police authorities, asking the number of cases of FGM reported between specific dates, victims ages, the occupation of the person reporting and the age and gender breakdown of the police force. Similar requests were sent to health and social care organisations. Findings Of 45 police authorities in the UK, six initially responded, with three stating that no cases of FGM had been reported. The remaining police authorities either provided partial information or declined the request. However, other sources indicated over 6000 reported cases between October 2014 and October 2015. Conclusions The ability of frontline professionals and policymakers to obtain, interpret and use data is affected by the secrecy that surrounds FGM, the complexities of investigation and the absence of a significant numbers of prosecutions.