FEAR that female genital mutilation (FGM) cases are going undetected during lockdown.
England’s FGM figures are currently the lowest since they began in recorded, but it is feared that this is only due to the fact that cases are going undetected during lockdown. During lockdown and various Coronavirus restrictions access to services has been restricted and many fear that this has prevented victims from reporting cases.
Hoda Ali, co-founder of anti-FGM charity the Vavengers and herself a survivor of FGM explained that, “FGM is still happening, but victims aren’t going to report it because where can they go? What service is open where they can just walk in?
“FGM happens behind closed doors, it is like the black market. So, while everyone is locked in their homes, no teachers, nurses or doctors will be able to find out.”
Alexander Adams, Chairman of ACTION: FGM, has spoken of how clinics may be closed due to lack of use although they fear that cases of FGM have drastically increased in private during the coronavirus pandemic. He explained that, “There is a fear that the clinics are going to be closed down because there haven’t been enough people going to them.
“Many within our sector argue this is a result of Covid, not a result of FGM numbers decreasing dramatically.”
“Our impression is that lockdown will have proliferated FGM. But FGM is, and always has been, a hidden scar.
“It happens in private, in what may be quite secretive and introverted communities.”
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