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The reality of FGM in the UK
  1. Pollyanna Cohen1,
  2. Martina Larsson1,
  3. Gayle Hann2,
  4. Sarah Creighton3,
  5. Deborah Hodes3
  1. 1 Department of Paediatrics, University College London Medical School, London, UK
  2. 2 Department of Paediatrics, North Middlesex University Hospital, London, UK
  3. 3 Department of Paediatric and Adolescent Gynaecology, University College Hospital, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Ms Pollyanna Cohen, Department of Paediatrics, University College London Medical School, London WC1E 6BT, UK; zchaprs{at}

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Weston’s review of the law1 in relation to understanding the legal nuances in female genital mutilation (FGM) is important in the fight to end the practice. Yet in order to effect real change an understanding of practising populations’ attitudes and beliefs is needed. There have been a few studies in the UK asking professionals about their knowledge but little about the communities themselves.

The commonly used questions from Unicef and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) household surveys, which have been undertaken in 29 African and Middle Eastern countries from 2005 and 1995, respectively,2 3 are ideal to elicit attitudes of practising communities. Permission was granted from both agencies for use of their questions administered to women …

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