Twenty victims of female genital mutilation (FGM) were identified by Vale of York's NHS services in the year to March 2023, figures show.

FGM is where a female's gentials are deliberately cut or changed without medical reason, usually inflicted on girls under 15.

NHS figures show 20 FGM victims were seen by health professionals in the NHS Vale of York CCG area in the year to March 2023, up from 15 the year before.

Hoda Bennett, from the North-East based domestic and sexual abuse charity Halo Project, said: "FGM is a deeply rooted part of a community’s tradition and perceived culture.

"The majority of women never report FGM, but it is usually detected in women after becoming pregnant due to physical examinations and the increased health effects during pregnancy."

Across England, 6,855 patients with identified FGM attended NHS services last year – up from 6,245 in 2021.

The NHS North Yorkshire and Humber Integrated Care Board has said that the number of cases are low in York, however its primary care services are aware of FGM's complications and seeks expert advice from local gynaecologists. 

According to the Halo Project, the NHS has Specialist FGM Support Clinics, however there are only three in the whole of the North of England.

FGM has been banned in the UK since 1985 and classed as a serious crime since 2015, but the practice remains widespread around the world.