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TV documentary highlights female genital mutilation

FORCED CUT: An instrument used to conduct female genital mutilation

A HARD-HITTING Channel 4 documentary on female genital mutilation (FGM) aired yesterday (November 6) following a report condemning the health and justice systems’ failure to address the problem.

Film-maker and FGM campaigner Leyla Hussein presented the programme.

Hussein said in the Guardian: “I was cut when I was seven years old.

"Four women held me down. I felt every single cut. I was screaming so much I just blacked out. I didn't know what female genital mutilation was until the day it happened to me.”

She added: “FGM is one of the worst physical and psychological scars a girl can be left with and I therefore completely endorse and welcome the new report on tackling FGM.”

The report - Tackling Female Genital Mutilation in the UK – by a coalition of health professionals including midwives, nurses, obstetricians, gynaecologists, Unite union and Equality Now, was launched at the House of Commons on October 6.

According to the research 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.

It called for FGM to be reported and dealt with as child abuse.

Janet Fyle, a policy adviser of the Royal College of Midwives and one of the report's authors, told the Guardian it was inconceivable that a health worker would not report evidence of child abuse to the police.

She stressed that 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.

She added: "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."

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