City’s female mutilation toll

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Sheffield has one of the highest rates of female genital mutilation in the UK, campaigners have revealed.

Figures showing cases in towns and cities across the UK have been published by charity Equality Now, which is fighting for tougher action against the crime.

The organisation estimates that 66,000 women have suffered mutilation.

The figures released by Equality Now are for numbers of women accessing maternity services who have suffered mutilation between 2001 and 2004.

There were 430 cases in Sheffield during the period - the fifth-highest level in the country. London had 21,235 cases, followed by 1,286 in Birmingham, 794 in Manchester and 612 in Bristol.

But other large cities’ numbers were lower, with 360 in Cardiff and 237 in Liverpool.

The practice happens in some African communities where parents believe it is necessary for their daughter to be accepted by a husband.

There has never been a prosecution in the UK, although the crime can carry up to 14 years in jail.