Police chiefs are urging people with suspicions about girls and woman at risk of female genital mutilation, honour based violence and forced marriage to come forward.
They suspect there could be hundreds of mutilation victims already and Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright said it is ‘startling’ that since it became an offence in 2003 there have been no prosecutions in the UK.
A regional conference was held in Barnsley today to raise awareness of the issues.
Commissioner Wright said: “Research shows that 66,000 women in England and Wales have suffered genital mutilation and 23,00 under 15-year-olds are at risk.
“It’s very difficult to prosecute because you need people to come forward so Police and Crime Commissioners are calling for anonymity for victims to give them more confidence to come forward.
“We were shown some footage of this happening to a girl and it was absolutely horrendous - it is a crime.”