DOCTORS have recorded 30 new cases of female genital mutilation across Essex in the past year.

The figures from the NHS show 15 cases were recorded under the Essex local authority and another 15 within the Thurrock authority.

There were no reported cases within the Southend authority area.

John Cameron, from the NSPCC, said the practice amounted to “child abuse” and “has no place in any society.”

He said: “We know from calls to our dedicated helpline that female genital mutilation is still affecting hundreds of girls in the UK and we are urging young people, and any adults worried about them, to speak out and get help.

“Some families who subject their children to female genital mutilation may do so because of cultural norms or that they believe it will help their child improve their life.

“It’s vital that everyone realises FGM serves no purpose, and leaves long lasting physical and emotional scars on the victims.

“For far too long female genital cutting has been cloaked in secrecy so we need more people in communities to join forces to ensure this dangerous practice is ended.”

The NSPCC is contacted, on average, more than once a day by people worried about girls who may have suffered or are at risk of female genital mutilation.

Since the helpline was launched in June 2013, it has been contacted more than 1,500 times, with around a third of concerns serious enough to be referred to police or social services.

Worried callers have included those contacting the helpline with fears for babies who they believed were at risk of FGM.

The practice is believed to affect around 137,000 women and girls in England and Wales.

It has been a criminal offence in the UK for 30 years, and in 2003 it also became a criminal offence for UK nationals or permanent residents to take their child abroad to have female genital mutilation.

Despite this, there has yet to be a successful prosecution for the offence.

Since July 2015, anyone in Wales and England may seek an FGM Protection Order to protect a potential victim.

Of the 79 orders obtained none were made at an Essex court, although five were granted at courts in east London.

Data obtained by the NSPCC shows that, in addition to applications from professionals, a significant proportion are from the person themselves or a family member, friend or community member.

Anyone who is concerned that a child is at risk of or has experienced FGM can speak call 0800 028 3550 or email

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Children can call Childline at any time on 0800 1111. If you suspect a child is in immediate danger, dial the emergency services on 999.