Hundreds of girls in South Yorkshire are at increased risk of being forced into ‘barbaric’ female genital mutilation during the summer.
Tracey Cheetham, deputy police and crime commissioner for South Yorkshire, said there is a ‘heightened risk’ during the summer holidays of local girls being taken abroad for the procedure.
A conference held by the office of the South Yorkshire PCC heard up to 24,000 girls in the UK are at risk, despite the practice being outlawed.
Teachers and adults are being warned to watch out for potential signs that girls may be at risk from such abuse, with anyone suspicious it may have occurred or be about to happen being urged to get in touch with the police.
Signs include knowing the family belongs to a culture or community in which such practices traditionally occur, and perhaps knowing they are preparing to take the child abroad, arranging vaccinations or planning absence from school. The child may also have talked about a ‘special procedure’ or ‘ceremony’ that is going to take place.
Ms Cheetham said: “Make no mistake, this is child abuse - we must all work hard to eradicate it and ensure all young people in South Yorkshire are safe.”