POLICE backed an international day calling for zero tolerance on female genital mutilation (FGM).
The procedure intentionally alters or causes injury to the female genitals for non-medical reasons and is illegal in the UK.
In October last year 455 female patients in the UK were newly-identified as having undergone FGM.
A further 1,468 patients were also receiving treatment for it.
Katy Bourne, Sussex police and crime commissioner, said: ‘FGM causes pain, misery and trauma to its many victims around the world.
‘It is a hugely complex area that needs to be fully recognised, understood and supported in order to help prevent more victims.
‘Encouraging people to report FGM can be even harder within some ethnic minority communities. That is why I am funding training for 16 police officers who will become specialist investigators in harmful traditional practices, including FGM.’
FGM is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15.
It causes severe bleeding and health issues including cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth increased risk of new-born deaths.
Campaigners say it is a violation of the human rights of girls and women. Anyone worried about a child or would like support or advice can contact the NSPCC FGM helpline on 0800 028 3550 or firstname.lastname@example.org.