Young women from London’s African communities are most vulnerable to suffering genital mutilation during the early part of school summer holidays, the Metropolitan Police warned last week.
This is the most likely time for communities who practise female genital mutilation to send daughters to countries of origin or administer mutilation in the UK, to ensure the lengthy recovery period takes place over the school break, said the Met. The practice is illegal.
Most mutilation is carried out in communities from 28 African countries. In Egypt, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan, prevalence rates are alleged to be as high as 98% and in Nigeria, Kenya, Togo and Senegal, prevalence rates vary between 20%-50%, according to the Met.
The force’s project Violet team works with social care and health professionals to tackle child abuse involving cultural issues.
Detective superintendent Chris Bourlet, head of project Violet said: ” We aim to support communities where cultural beliefs can lead to the abuse of children. We’re keen to build awareness of the issues to develop a better understanding with communities and professionals on this sensitive issue, however female genital mutilation is a crime and where appropriate the police will enforce the law.”
Detective inspector Carol Hamilton of the Met’s child abuse command said: “Female genital mutilation is a clear violation of human rights and is child abuse. It is a cultural practice which has no basis in any religion and anyone involved in facilitating this crime whether inside or outside the UK can face a lengthy prison sentence.”