6th May 2014

The cutting of girls at female genital mutilation “parties” is still going on in Britain and not just taking place abroad, healthcare experts have told MPs. The Commons home affairs select committee has heard that “cutters” – often older women – are flown into Britain for the events, at which as many as a dozen girls may be operated on.

Janet Fyle, of the Royal College of Midwives, said that by the time the authorities could be alerted, the cutter would have left. “By the time the girls are cut, the woman ‘cutter’ is on her flight back to the country she came from. We can’t go after the cutter. We don’t know who she or he is. The parents have to be held responsible,” she said.

Professor Janice Rymer, of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, shared Fyle’s belief that FGM was happening in Britain. Asked about its scale, she said: “We have no idea. We have no data but I am sure it is happening in this country.”

The MPs also heard evidence that 75 to 80 women were undergoing FGM reversal operations in Britain each year. The MPs heard from French legal experts that statutory reporting to the police was required in France and that those responsible for mutilating girls had been jailed for up to eight years.

The first person to be charged under Britain’s FGM laws appeared at the Old Bailey last week. Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena, 31, is accused of carrying out the procedure on a woman after she gave birth at Whittington hospital in Archway, north London, on 24 November 2012.

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