Northampton General Hospital recorded 30 cases of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in a six-month period, figures released by Northamptonshire Police have revealed.
The county force has launched an awareness campaign timed to coincide with the run-up to the summer holidays, when children may be at a higher risk of being taken abroad to have FGM carried out.
It aims to send out the message that FGM is child abuse and members of the public have a duty to report any concerns that a child is at risk.
FGM is recognised as a violation of the human rights of girls and women and is illegal in the UK. It is also illegal to take a British national or permanent resident abroad for FGM or to help someone trying to do this.
The Health and Social Care Information Centre publish monthly statistics on FGM, which show that between September 2014 and March 2015, 3,963 newly identified cases were reported in England. Northampton General Hospital recorded 30 cases of FGM.
Assistant Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police, Rachel Swann, said: “FGM is abuse and violence against girls and women. It’s illegal in the UK and carries a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment.
“A new mandatory reporting duty for FGM was introduced last year, requiring regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales to report known cases of FGM in girls under-18 to the police.
“It’s essential that everybody, including teachers, doctors and other professionals, understand the warning signs that a girl might be at risk. We all need to do everything we can to protect girls and prevent this harmful and unlawful practice.”