An estimated 137,000 women in the UK are affected by female genital mutilation (FGM). However, the true extent is unknown, due to the “hidden” nature of the crime.

The girls may be taken to their countries of origin so that FGM can be carried out during the summer holidays, allowing them time to “heal” before they return to school. There are also worries that some girls may have FGM performed in the UK.

FGM is usually carried out on young girls between infancy and the age of 15, most commonly before puberty starts. The procedure is traditionally carried out by a woman with no medical training.

There are no health benefits to FGM. Removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue interferes with the natural functions of girls’ and women’s bodies.