Police chiefs in South Yorkshire are warning that those involved in female genital mutilation in South Yorkshire could land themselves behind bars for 14 years.
The practice of female genital mutilation, which is common in some cultures, is illegal in Britain and offenders face jail if convicted.
Detective Sergeant Suzanne Bluck, of South Yorkshire Police, issued the warning at an event organised by the charity Ashiana, which supports refugees and those from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities who are fleeing domestic and sexual abuse, including forced marriage, human trafficking, female genital mutilation, gang violence and ‘honour’ based violence.
She said: "“It is extremely important to raise awareness of FGM as it is illegal in the UK and any offenders found guilty can face up to 14 years in prison.
“The lack of understanding and knowledge of FGM amongst local communities and professionals makes it extremely difficult to identify victims and achieve prosecutions. However, we will not let these barriers stop us from implementing our 'prevent, protect, partners and prosecute' strategy.
“This strategy has been specifically developed so we can work alongside our partners, campaigners and brave survivors to increase awareness, encourage reporting and safeguard and protect victims. To continue with this work anyone, whether you are or know a victim or survivor, is urged to report it to the police.
“South Yorkshire Police are committed to tackling FGM and we will not stop until this has been achieved.”