Young girls who are at risk of being subjected to female genital mutilation are being failed by the health and social care system, a report has warned.
Experts from the Royal Colleges of Midwives, Nursing and Obstetricians & Gynaecologists compiled the report which concluded that such girls are let down by officials who do not know where to turn if they suspect the procedure has been carried out.
There is also a lack of accountability in performance of health and social care workers and a lack of consistent data about the issue, with former Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer calling FGM "a crime that will not be tolerated in a modern multicultural society."
Violation of a child's human rights
RCM chief executive Cathy Warwick added: " We cannot expect communities or girls and young women to tackle this issue by themselves. FGM robs girls of their childhood and it is an abuse of their human rights.
"This is why we must work collaboratively to ensure that these recommendations, aligned to current policy frameworks, are implemented and monitored.
"FGM is a violation of children and women's human rights, and there is a real need to raise awareness about the damage that FGM can do to young girls and women within the communities that practise it."
Figures suggest that more than 65,000 women in England and Wales have undergone FGM in the past year and that 23,000 girls under 15 remain 'at risk'.