There has been legislation in this country to criminalise female genital mutilation (FGM) for 27 years and not one successful prosecution. Three cases referred to the Crown Prosection Service (CPS) in the last two years had significant evidential difficulties and were not pursued. Last week the Association of Women Barristers (AWB) and the CPS held a joint seminar to address these issues.
In the past, slicing the genitalia of girls was a hidden problem, not so now. At the FGM seminar, Dr Comfort Momoh, an FGM midwife, described the haemorrhaging, chronic pain, bladder, menstrual problems, and psychological harm, that women and girls suffer, after having their genital areas altered as babies and sometimes cut open on their wedding nights.
According to the Home Office website it is estimated that up to 24,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk of FGM in the UK and between 100m to 140m girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences.