South Yorkshire Police informed of nine historic cases of female genital mutilation over last year

Female genital mutilation is illegal in the UK
Female genital mutilation is illegal in the UK
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Police officers in South Yorkshire have been informed of nine historic cases of female genital mulitation over the last year.

Victims, who are all women now, told officers that they were mutilated in different countries when they were younger.

The practise, common in some cultures, involves the partial or total removal of female genitalia, and has been illegal in the UK since 1985. Offenders face 14 years behind bars.

According to South Yorkshire Police, nine cases have been reported to the force over the last year.

A force spokeswoman said: "All nine cases of female genital mutilation reported to South Yorkshire Police since March 2016 are historic cases.

"The victims, who are now women, had the offence committed against them when they were children in countries outside our jurisdiction before they moved to the UK.

"Under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 it is illegal for FGM to be performed. It is also an offence for a UK national or permanent UK resident to carry out FGM or help and enable someone else to carry out FGM.

"This applies even when the victim is taken to a country where this practise is legal.

"If convicted, the perpetrator can face up to 14 years in prison.

"We have had no reported cases of FGM being carried out in South Yorkshire, but FGM remains a largely under-reported crime, which is why raising awareness is so important.

"Much of our work involves working with partners in health, education and social care to protect children from harm and prevent this crime from taking place in the first place.

"Where we do receive any information that suggests a child is at risk or FGM is taking pace, a full investigation will take place to ensure perpetrators are prosecuted.

"FGM is a serious crime, it is child abuse and it will not be tolerated."