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Ignorance of FGM is ‘worryingly high’ in Britain

A leading UK charity has warned of ignorance over FGM even as Hollywood star Angelina Jolie leads a campaign to wipe it out

Published: Updated:

Ignorance regarding the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) is “worryingly high,” a leading UK charity has warned even as Hollywood star Angelina Jolie leads a campaign intended to wipe it out.

According to a commissioned survey, Plan UK has revealed that more than one in three people in the UK do not understand the term.

The practice, which can result in death, has attracted growing media attention in recent years with the first doctor to face trial for performing female genital mutilation in Egypt being handed a two-year jail sentence with hard labor for manslaughter, and another three months for performing an illegal practice this week.

FGM refers to the complete or partial removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons.

In the UK, a quarter of the 2,208 adults questioned did not fully understand what the term means and one in ten said they had not heard of FGM at all.

Plan UK chief executive, Tanya Barron said: “It’s clear that while a third of the public remain unaware or even oblivious to this practice, girls remain at risk, both here in the UK and overseas.

“Tireless campaigning by a small group of people has put FGM firmly on the agenda in the UK. This research shows that we must continue to build on that progress.

“And we must remember that this is a global problem that requires a global effort; ending FGM here in the UK means ending it in the countries across the world in which it is prevalent,” she said, according to the Daily Mail.

Plan UK leads the “Because I Am A Girl” campaign which works to end FGM practices internationally.