fgmA new report on the prevalence of female genital mutilation in England and Wales suggests that no local authority area in England and Wales is likely to be free from FGM entirely.

The report, published by City University London and Equality Now, also revealed that those who have undergone FGM do not exclusively reside in the large cities of England and Wales. Although many of the affected women live in densely populated areas (where migrants tend to reside), others are scattered around rural areas.

The percentage of women born to mothers who have undergone FGM varies considerably between regions and local authorities in England and Wales (ranging from 10.4 per cent in one London borough to virtually zero elsewhere).

London has by far the highest prevalence, with an estimated 2.1% of women living in London being victims of FGM, according to the report.

Janet Fyle, Professional Policy Advisor at RCM, commented that “the report is an indication that much more needs to be done to support survivors of FGM”.

This includes “long-term clinical care and support” and psychological support across the country. Although the RCM acknowledges that progress is being made to end FGM in the UK, Fyle believes the UK needs to use the “might of the legal framework to eradicate FGM in the UK and in countries where it continues to impact on the health and well-being of girls and women”.

To truly eradicate FGM, the RCM believes that “we need the collaborative efforts of the health services, police and education, along with local communities, local authorities and survivors in every area in the UK to adopt a zero tolerance approach, until FGM no longer blights the lives of women and girls”.

Although most of the highest rates are in London, outside of London, the highest estimates of FGM are in Manchester, Slough, Bristol, Leicester and Birmingham, ranging from 1.2 to 1.6 per cent. The report finds other authorities, including Thurrock, Milton Keynes, Cardiff, Coventry, Sheffield, Reading, Northampton and Oxford, have rates of over 0.7 per cent.

This research follows last year's report that revealed an estimated 137,000 women and girls with FGM, all born in countries where FGM is practised, were living permanently in England and Wales in 2011.