Cardiff City Council have started their first inquiry into female genital mutilation.
The Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee will be examining the extent of the problem in the city and how it can be tackled by the authorities. It will be hearing from members of ethnic minorities across the city as part of the inquiry.
Lynda Thorne, Labour Councillor for Grangetown, who’s on the committee says, only one case of FGM has been reported to the last year. “The problem lies in reporting… many people don’t report it because they are afraid of criminalising family members who have pushed them to do it.”
BAWSO, a women’s aid charity based in Cardiff has been supporting people with inquiries about FGM since 2010.
Its director, Dr Mwenya Chimba says “There has been a steady increase of people reporting FGM.
“In 2010 we provided 1-to-1 support to about 5 people. This year we are supporting more than 70 people.”
Dr Chimba says, “We the practitioners talk about mandatory duties, but the community is key.”
AM Jenny Rathbone is the main speaker at the UN International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, which takes place at the Senedd on Monday.
She says there needs to be more education on FGM in communities: “We need to make sure there is enough training going on in schools and youth services.
“Those people are the most likely to spot this.”
FGM is defined by the World Health Organisation as, “involving the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or any other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.”