There were 5,700 newly-recorded cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) in England in 2015-16, according to figures published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
This is the first time annual statistics on FGM have been published.
The FGM statistics also showed that there were 8,660 total attendances in the same period where FGM was identified or a medical procedure for FGM was undertaken.
Women and girls born in Somalia account for more than one third (37% or 810 cases) of newly-recorded cases of FGM with a known country of birth.
The 5 to 9-year-old-age group was the most common age range at which FGM was undertaken, accounting for 43% (582) of the total number of cases from any country, where the age at the time of undertaking was known.
FGM has been illegal in the UK since 1985 and the law was strengthened in 2003 to prevent girls travelling from the UK and undergoing FGM abroad. It became mandatory for all acute trusts to collect and submit to the FGM Enhanced Dataset from 1 July 2015 and for all mental health trusts and GP practices, from 1 October 2015.
The report also showed that:
- 112 NHS trusts and 38 GP practices submitted one or more FGM attendance record in 2015-16. Submissions are only required when there is data to report
- More than half of all cases relate to women and girls from the London NHS Commissioning Region – 52% (2,940) of newly recorded cases and 58% (5,020) of total attendances
- Self-report was the most frequent method of FGM identification, accounting for 73% (2,770) of cases where the FGM identification method was known
- 106 girls were reported as being aged under 18 at the time of their first attendance, comprising 2% of all newly recorded cases
- 90% (1,980) of women and girls with a known country of birth were born in an African country. This breaks down as follows: Eastern Africa 879 (54%), Western Africa 414 (25%) and Northern Africa 175 (11%). Meanwhile, 141 (6%) were born in Asia.
Responsible statistician, Peter Knighton, said: “This is the first time that annual data have been collected and published to give an insight into the practice and prevalence of FGM in England. The resulting data will support the Department of Health’s FGM Prevention Programme and improve the NHS response to FGM by raising awareness, enabling the provision of services and management of FGM, and safeguarding girls at risk.”