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Reports calls for Female Genitial Mutilation to be responded to as child abuse

Thousands of girls in danger of genital mutilation are being failed by the health and justice systems, a coalition of health professionals has warned in a report that recommends aggressive steps to eradicate the practice in the UK. According to the report more than 66,000 women in England and Wales have undergone FGM and more than 24,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk of it. The report – “Tackling Female Genital Mutilation in the UK” – will be launched at the House of Commons on Monday by the Royal Colleges of Midwifery, Nursing and Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Unite union and Equality. The report recommends that Female genital mutilation should be treated the same as any other kind of child abuse and evidence of it must be reported to the police. Though since 2003 Britons can be prosecuted for acts of FGM to date there have been no prosecutions in Britain whereas in France there have been 100. Janet Fyle, a policy adviser of the Royal College of Midwives and one of the report's authors, quoted in The Guardian, said that just as it was inconceivable that a health worker would not report evidence of child abuse to the police, it should be equally important to report evidence of FGM. "If we are applying child protection laws, we cannot pick and choose which crimes against children we pursue," she said. "We are not asking for more money or legislation, we are just asking that child protection laws should work for all children not just some." Mon 4th Nov 2013