Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner is calling on communities to take a stand against the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation.
Tony Lloyd was speaking out as the UN marks International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation.
It is believed that up to 140 million women across the world have undergone the procedure.
“Female genital mutilation is a barbaric practice that has no place in the 21st Century. Sadly we have seen many cases of this in the UK, and all decent people have a responsibility to take a stand against it.
“It is illegal, it is life-threatening, and it can leave its young victims in real agony with long-term physical and psychological problems which often continue into adulthood.
“In short, it is child abuse. Sadly it is a practice which is carried out in some African, Asian and Middle Eastern communities in the UK.
“I know this is a complex, often secret, issue that is rarely talked about, but I want those who live under its shadow to know that help is out there.” Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd
Last year, the NSPCC launched a free 24-hour advice and support line for anyone who is worried about a child being or becoming a victim. The number is 0800 028 3550. People can also email firstname.lastname@example.org in confidence.
More than 1,700 women in the UK were referred to specialist clinics over the past two years, but it is believed that the true number of victims is even higher.
Find more advice on our female genital mutilation information and advice page: www.gmpcc.org.uk/fgm
Image cropped from awareness poster available on www.gov.uk