Search

Whittington Hospital figures reveal almost 400 cases of female genital mutilation locally

PUBLISHED: 17:00 31 March 2014

Whittington Hospital has the highest rate of mixed-sex ward breaches in thge country

Whittington Hospital has the highest rate of mixed-sex ward breaches in thge country

© Nigel Sutton

The country’s top prosecutor has called for healthcare and educational staff to be required by law to report suspected female genital mutilation (FGM) to police – after the first UK prosecution was brought against a Whittington doctor.

Director of Public Prosecution Alison Saunders has called for healthcare and educational staff to be required by law to report suspected female genital mutilation to police. Picture: GLENN COPUS©Director of Public Prosecution Alison Saunders has called for healthcare and educational staff to be required by law to report suspected female genital mutilation to police. Picture: GLENN COPUS©

Director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders said she would like to see a statutory requirement to report suspected cases of FGM, which involves the partial or total removal of a girl’s external genitals.

She spoke at a Home Affairs Select Committee hearing last week just days after charges were brought against Dr Dhanoun Dharmasena, 31, of Ilford, by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Dr Dharmasena is alleged to have carried out the procedure on a woman who had given birth at the Whittington, in Magdala Avenue, Archway, and was charged with an offence contrary to the Female Genital Mutilation Act.

A second man, Hasan Mohamed, 40, of Holloway, who is not a medic, was also charged.

FGM Factfile

* Female genital cutting, commonly referred to as female genital mutilation, is the partial or total removal of a girl’s external genitals.

* Her body is physically damaged when the healthy tissue of her genitals is cut away. There are no health benefits.

* Complex cultural and social reasons are often given to explain why it is practised.

* It has harmful effects on the health and wellbeing of a woman throughout her life.

* The UN estimates that 125 million women and girls worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM.

Ms Saunders said: “It was alleged that following a patient giving birth in November 2012, a doctor at the Whittington Hospital repaired FGM that had previously been performed on the patient, allegedly carrying out FGM himself.

“Having carefully considered all the available evidence, I have determined there is sufficient evidence and it would be in the public interest to prosecute. I have also determined that Hasan Mohamed should face one charge of intentionally encouraging an offence of FGM.”

The pair will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on April 15.

A spokesman for Whittington Health, the trust that runs the hospital, said concerns raised by clinicians in 2012 following a patient giving birth at the hospital’s maternity unit were reported to police and an immediate internal sinvestigation launched.

Figures obtained by the BBC show that 390 cases of FGM were recorded by the Whittington Hospital between 2010 and 2013. Some 98 per cent of these were women from the Somali community.

The director of public prosecutions told the MPs select committee hearing on Tuesday that a lack of referrals from professionals, such as healthcare staff, was partly behind the low number of FGM prosecutions.

She said: “If you wait for... the archetypal young girl to come through the door to tell you about what’s just happened to her, that her family have put her through, that’s not going to happen.”

She wrote to ministers in February urging that a mandatory requirement to report FGM be introduced.

Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone has campaigned on FGM in her role as a junior minister at the Department for International Development (DFID).

Last March, at the 57th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, she launched a £35million fund to support the anti FGM African-led movement.

“I am very optimistic now that we are on our way now to end this harmful practise,” she wrote on her blog on Sunday.

* An NSPCC FGM helpline offers support to anybody who might be at risk or has been affected by FGM. Telephone 0800 028 3550 or email fgmhelp@nspcc.org.uk.

Related articles

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

The Alternative Clothes Show returned to Crouch End last Saturday, March 25, where students from City and Islington College joined local models to showcase a range of dazzling outfits crafted using recycled materials.

13:57

A former MOBO award winner took part in a five-hour drumming marathon at King Alfred School to raise money for Comic Relief on Red Nose Day.

Detectives from Camden have released CCTV footage of a man they would like to speak to in connection with a burglary at Holborn Mosque.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Parents are concerned their toddlers’ dirty nappies will be abandoned by Camden Council once they cut services, following chaos when they tried to register for a free weekly collection.

Friday, March 24, 2017

A British Transport Police officer was today fired for using “excessive and unnecessary force” on a member of public during an arrest at St Pancras station.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Hampstead couple Haleh Babavand and her husband Ash Parsa spoke to the Ham and High about their experience of home schooling.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Runners preparing for the YMCA North London’s Crouch End 10km event on Sunday May 21 can now join weekly training sessions every Tuesday evening up until race week.

Friday, March 24, 2017

A team of Hampstead schoolgirls have beaten 8,000 rivals to reach the final of a competition to find the best code breakers of the future.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now