Skip to main content

Annual statistical publication for FGM shows 5,391 newly recorded cases during 2016-17

* NHS Digital must be quoted as the source of these figures

* Regional figures are available

04 July 2017: There were 5,391 newly recorded2 cases of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) reported in England during 2016-17, according to the second publication of annual statistics from this data set.

The FGM statistics3, published today by NHS Digital1, also showed that there were 9,179 total attendances4 in the same period where FGM was identified or a medical procedure for FGM was undertaken.

Women and girls born in Somalia account for more than one third (35 per cent or 875 cases) of newly recorded cases of FGM with a known country of birth (2,504). Of the newly recorded cases, 112 involved women and girls who were born in the United Kingdom.

In 57 cases, the FGM was known to have been undertaken in the UK. Where the nature of the UK procedures was known, around 50 were genital piercings5 (FGM Type 46 - piercing).

The 5 to 9 year old age group was the most common age range at which FGM was undertaken. This equates to 44 per cent (739) of the total number of cases from any country, where the age at the time of undertaking was known (1,673).

Female Genital Mutilation Enhanced Dataset, April 2016 to March 2017, experimental statistics includes information gathered from acute trusts, mental health trusts and GP practices.

FGM has been illegal in the United Kingdom since 1985 and the law was strengthened in 2003 to prevent girls travelling from the UK and undergoing FGM abroad. It became mandatory for all acute trusts to collect and submit to the FGM Enhanced Dataset from 1 July 2015 and for all mental health trusts and GP practices, from 1 October 2015.

Today's report also shows:

  • 123 NHS trusts and 74 GP practices submitted one or more FGM attendance record in 2016-17. Submissions are only required when there is data to report
  • Almost half of all cases relate to women and girls from the London NHS Commissioning Region - 48 per cent (2,560) of newly recorded cases and also 48 per cent (4,415) of total attendances
  • 139 girls were reported as being aged under 18 at the time of their first attendance, comprising 3 per cent of all newly recorded cases
  • 88 per cent (2,202) of women and girls with a known country of birth were born in an African country. This breaks down as follows - Eastern Africa 1338 (53 per cent), Western Africa 505 (20 per cent) and Northern Africa 339 (14 per cent). 175 (7 per cent) were born in Asia7
  • 154 deinfibulation8 procedures were reported. This procedure is often performed to facilitate delivery during childbirth

Read the full report.


Notes to editors

1. NHS Digital is the national information and technology provider for the health and care system. Our team of information analysis, technology and project management experts create, deliver and manage the crucial digital systems, services, products and standards upon which health and care professionals depend. During the 2015/16 financial year, NHS Digital published 294 statistical reports. Our vision is to harness the power of information and technology to make health and care better.NHS Digital is the new trading name for the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). We provide 'Information and Technology for better health and care'. Find out more about our role and remit

2. Newly Recorded women and girls with FGM are those who have had their FGM information collected in the FGM Enhanced Dataset for the first time. This will include those identified as having FGM and those having treatment for their FGM. 'Newly recorded' does not necessarily mean that the attendance is the woman or girl's first attendance for FGM.

3. Data completeness varies from 24 to 100 per cent in the items discussed (see below). Data completeness also varies by submitter. Overall completeness for variables discussed: Date of Birth - 100 per cent known. Country of birth - 46 per cent known. FGM type - 44 per cent known. Deinfibulation undertaken - 38 per cent known. Age range when FGM was undertaken - 24 per cent known. Country where FGM was undertaken - 31 per cent known.

4. Total Attendances refers to all attendances in the reporting period where FGM was identified or a procedure for FGM was undertaken. Women and girls may have one or more attendances in the reporting period. This category includes both newly recorded and previously identified women and girls.

5. Figures for FGM Type 4 are rounded to the nearest 5 to prevent disclosure. For the remainder of UK cases, numbers were suppressed and include unknown categories and Type 4 cases of an unspecified kind.

6. The four FGM Types defined by the World Health Organisation ( are: Type 1: Partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the prepuce (clitoridectomy). Type 2: Partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (excision). Type 3: Narrowing of the vaginal orifice with creation of a covering seal by cutting and appositioning the labia minora and/or the labia majora, with or without excision of the clitoris (infibulation). Type 4: All other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, including pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization. While adult women may choose to have genital piercings, in some communities' girls are forced to have them. The World Health Organisation currently defines all female genital piercings as a form of FGM. The data item FGM Type 4 Qualifier allows users to specify that the FGM was a piercing. The FGM Enhanced Dataset includes two additional categories relating to FGM Type 3 and an Unknown value: History of Type 3: Current state where a woman or girl had FGM Type 3, but has since been deinfibulated. Type 3 - Reinfibulation Identified: Current state where a woman or girl has been closed previously, opened and is currently closed again. Unknown: When the FGM category could not be ascertained. It is acknowledged that even for experienced healthcare workers who frequently see women and girls with FGM it can still often be difficult to determine the type of FGM that had been undertaken.

7. Categories are based on the United Nations Statistical Division: Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions, geographical sub-regions, and selected economic and other groupings (revised 31 October 2013).  

8. Deinfibulation is the surgical procedure to open up the closed vagina of a woman or girl with FGM Type 3.

9. For media enquiries please contact [email protected] or 0300 303 3888.


Last edited: 9 October 2019 3:19 pm