An influential group of Britain's leading human rights barristers has told MPs that the government is in breach of its legal obligation to protect children by failing to stop girls becoming victims of female genital mutilation.

The Bar Human Rights Committee has described recent measures taken by the government to tackle FGM as insufficient and is calling for a wide-ranging package of policies – including mandatory reporting by teachers, protection orders and a dedicated FGM unit – to tackle the crime.

More than 66,000 women are thought to be living with FGM in England and Wales, with 24,000 girls under 15 believed to be at risk, but despite the practice being outlawed in 1985 there is yet to be a single prosecution in Britain.

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