Bishop of St Albans asks about cases of female genital mutilation and forced marriage

The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 14th March 2023:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government

  • how many cases of female genital mutilation have been (1) investigated, and (2) prosecuted, in (a) 2022, (b) 2021, (c) 2020, and (d) 2019.
  •  how many instances of forced marriage occurred in (1) 2022, (2) 2021, (3) 2020, and (4) 2019.
  • what estimate they have made of number of girls under the age of 18 who are British Citizens who have been married abroad.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con): The Government is committed to tackling forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM). On 27 February 2023 we brought into force legislation which raises the minimum age of marriage and civil partnership in England and Wales to 18, and expands the offence of forced marriage soit is illegal to do anything to cause a child to marry before they turn 18, even if coercion is not used.

Since April 2019, the Annual Data Requirement for England and Wales has required police forces to provide quarterly data returns to the Home Office on the number of offences they have recorded which they have identified as being related to ‘honour’-based abuse, which includes FGM. The table below shows the number of FGM offences recorded by the police from April 2019 to March 2022.

April 2019-March 2020April 2020-March 2021April 2021-March 2022
FGM offences recorded by police747877

There have been two prosecutions for FGM under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, these occurred in 2019.

We do not hold information on the number of British girls under the age of 18 who have been married abroad or on the total numbers of forced marriages which have occurred.

We recognise that data on the prevalence of FGM and forced marriage is limited. That is why are funding a feasibility study explore whether a more rigorous estimation of the prevalence of these crimes in England and Wales can be made. This study is estimated to complete later this year.




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