U.K. social workers say they are alarmed by a sharp increase in the number of girls who have been subjected to or are at risk of female genital mutilation, with the number of reported cases doubling in a year.
According to The Guardian, an analysis by the Local Government Association (LGA) found that female genital mutilation (or FGM) was reported in 1,960 social work assessments between 2017 and 2018, up from 970 cases the year before. The spike is thought to stem from better detection by social workers, but the number of girls who have been subjected to the practice is likely higher. FGM, which is often performed for social and cultural reasons, is typically carried out in secret and is difficult for authorities to track.
Additionally, the new analysis found that reports of child abuse linked to faith or belief is also on the rise, increasing by 12 percent since last year.
The LGA says that these figures testify to “pressure on children’s services,” stemming from a “£3 billion funding gap facing children’s services by 2025.” The association has called for more funding for children’s services and the National FGM Center, a U.K. organization that works with police, health and education officials to support women and girls who have experienced FGM, and to prevent new cases from occurring.
“[The new report shows] the worrying prevalence of FGM which is ruining lives and destroying communities,” said Anita Lower, the LGA’s lead on FGM. “At a time when they should be preparing for adult life and enjoying being young, no girl or young woman should be subject to the horrors of genital mutilation which is child abuse and cannot be justified for any reason.”
Read the full story at The Guardian.