Nursing staff in the UK uncover the equivalent of one case of female genital mutilation (FGM) every hour on average, new statistics show.
According to figures collated by children's charity Plan International UK using data from NHS Digital, a total of 8,656 medical appointments in the country between April 2015 and March 2016 saw FGM identified or a procedure to treat complications related to the procedure carried out.
This therefore equates to one case of FGM being discovered every 61 minutes over the course of this 12-month period.
Across the world, it is believed that as many as 200 million girls and women have been affected by FGM, which, though illegal in many parts of the globe, is still practised in some regions due to cultural beliefs.
Females who have been forced to undergo the procedure are often in extreme pain and are worried about other people's reactions to their situation, so nurses and other medical staff treating FGM victims need to make sure they are dealing with them in the most sensitive way possible.
Commenting on the figures, Janet Fyle, professional policy advisor at the Royal College of Midwives, stated: "We are making progress, but it is telling that the UK has yet to see a single prosecution for FGM. We are now collecting the statistics, but behind every one is a girl or young woman who has been through a terrible experience.
"The government must fulfil its obligation to provide care and support for survivors, many of whom are young women living with the consequences of FGM."
Nurses therefore need to make sure they always follow the correct procedures for reporting FGM in order to increase the chances of legal action finally being taken against perpetrators of this crime one day in the near future.
The Plan International UK statistics were released to coincide with the annual International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, which took place on February 6th.
Written by James Puckle
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