The crime of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is one that, each and every day, we are working with our communities and officers to understand, prevent and investigate.
Today (6 February) is International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) – and whilst we have a zero tolerance approach every day of the year, it is an opportunity for us to raise awareness of the issue and our work.
The United Nations (UN) campaign is held annually on February 6 to stop genital mutilation to girls and women. This year, the theme is Her Voice, Her Future.
Although primarily concentrated in 30 countries, female genital mutilation is a universal issue. Female genital mutilation continues to persist amongst immigrant populations living in Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.
Over the last three decades, the prevalence of FGM has declined globally. Today, a girl is one-third less likely to undergo FGM than 30 years ago. However, work is needing to continue to ensure the goal – to eliminate FGM by 2030 – is still achievable.
FGM is usually practised on girls between infancy and 15 years old, but can also be performed on older girls. More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut globally and in the UK, it is estimated that there are over 130,000 women living with FGM.
Detective Inspector Rebecca Hall said: “It is so important that we raise awareness of this issue and the consequences it can have. There are so many myths about FGM, with some people believing it can improve fertility or that it is a right to womanhood – both of which are not true.
“It can cause significant harm and pain to the girls, which is one of the reasons it is a crime and why we take this zero tolerance approach.
"We have very diverse communities in Derbyshire and we know this is underreported, so we want people to feel able to speak up and spot the signs.
“This can be difficulties walking, spending longer in the bathroom, appearing quiet, anxious or depressed, acting differently at school or college, and even a reluctance to go to the doctors or have routine check-ups.
“It can have a huge emotional and physical impact on the girls – and I urge anyone to suspects that FGM is happening to contact 101 or report anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
In an emergency, or where there is immediate danger to life, call 999.
FGM is child abuse and is against the law in the UK and carries a penalty of up to 14 years in prison. The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 makes it illegal to:
Perform FGM in the UK.
Assist or arrange for anyone to carry out FGM abroad on girls who are British Nationals or habitual UK residents.
Assist a girl to carry out FGM on herself.
How to report FGM:
If you suspect a person of carrying out FGM, or think someone you know has been a victim, or may soon be, please visit our website to find a range of ways to get in touch. Alternatively, call the national FGM helpline on 0800 028 3550.