Hampshire cricket clubs called to help protect girls from abuse

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CRICKET clubs in Hampshire are being warned to watch out for a form of child abuse on the rise in the county.

Hampshire cricket’s governing body has teamed up with the NSPCC to raise awareness of female genital mutilation.

It comes after fresh figures showed a surge of 35 new cases between April 2015 and March 2016 in the region.

Hampshire County Cricket Board is joining the campaign by the children’s charity to try to protect youngsters from attack.

From next month, the board will include warning signs of the abuse on its safeguarding children policy, Safe Hands.

Ben Thompson, cricket development manager at the board, said: ‘We take the safeguarding of all children extremely seriously.

‘We are not asking people in cricket clubs to be experts in this area, only to be aware of the issue, to be sensitive to children and to know what to do if they have any concerns.’

Female genital mutilation is a form of child abuse common to some African, Asian and Middle Eastern communities.

Victims can be left in agony, with physical and psychological problems that can continue into adulthood.

For help with this form of abuse, call NSPCC’s 24-hour helpline on 0800 028 3550 or email fgmhelp@nspcc.org.uk