Police alert over school holiday mutilation risk for girls

A STARK WARNING has been issued by a police chief that girls may be at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage during the school holidays.

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire made the warning after declaring girls may be taken abroad during the summer break.

Professionals from health, policing and the Home Office, who attended the South Yorkshire PCC’s recent conference on FGM said that up to 24,000 girls in the UK are at risk, despite the practice being outlawed.

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Tracey Cheetham, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, said: “Girls are at heightened risk of female genital mutilation during school holidays, because this is when they are often taken abroad to have this barbaric procedure inflicted on them. Girls may be told they are going on holiday, to meet family or to learn about their culture, but when they get there, they can be forced to marry, or be forced to undergo FGM. It is horrific.”

“Warnings are especially targeted toward teachers or other adults, who may be able to help prevent such abuse.”

People needing help can call South Yorkshire Police on 101, or the NSPCC FGM dedicated helpline on 0800 028 3550.

Karma Nirvana, a charity for victims of honour crimes or forced marriage, also runs a support service and helpline on 0800 5999247.