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Female Genital Mutilation - NSPCC helpline uncovers 34 potential cases

The NSPCC children's charity has referred 34 potential cases of female genital mutilation to the Metropolitan police as a result of calls to an anonymous helpline launched less than three months ago to help tackle a crime understood to affect more than 70 women and girls a month in the UK.
John Cameron, head of the helpline, said the 93 calls received so far had come from members of the communities that practice female genital mutilation, which is a criminal offence carrying a sentence of up to 14 years in prison in the UK, as well as education and healthcare professionals seeking advice. The calls showed the "need for a single anonymous point of contact for information", he said.
The details emerged as police and prosecutors called for members of these communities as well as education and health professionals to come forward and report so-called "cutters". Female genital mutilation has been illegal in the UK since 1985, yet there have been no prosecutions to date. Three years ago, in an effort to stamp out a practice estimated to affect a total of 66,000 women and girls in England and Wales, the crime was extended to anyone who took a girl overseas to be cut, or helped anyone else do so.
Since starting to record cases of possible FGM in 2009, the Met has received 186 referrals. “Evidence of how few cases get referred to the police came from Avon and Somerset health service where one midwife recorded 117 cases in one nine-month period.
Asked why prosecution was so important, Starmer, who leaves the CPS next month, said: "It will send a very powerful message about the fact that FGM is unacceptable."
Anyone who is worried that a child is at risk of or has been a victim of FGM can contact NSPCC helpline 0800 028 3550
The Guardian Thurs 5th Sept 2013