A High Court judge has granted an order protecting a three-year-old girl believed to be at risk of female genital mutilation.
The girl was made a ward of court at a family court hearing following a South Yorkshire Police investigation.
The decision also prevents her family from taking the child out of the country or making travel plans.
Det Sgt Suzanne Bluck said: “Female genital mutilation is a form of child abuse and… it will not be tolerated.”
Breaches of the non-molestation order could result in a jail term.
The partial or total removal of external female genitalia is illegal in the UK but the practice occurs in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
It is illegal to carry out FGM, or to help or enable someone else to carry it out, no matter where in the world the crime takes place.
The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 applies to all British residents even if the act happens in a country where FGM is legal.
On Sunday, the Prime Minister announced that laws to stop vulnerable girls being taken to foreign countries for FGM would be imposed before the summer holidays.
Courts will have new powers to force people to give up their passports and travel documents if they are suspected of planning to carry out the barbaric practice.
The FGM ‘protection orders’ will allow the authorities to step in and protect potential victims before they are taken abroad.
A PRACTICE AFFECTING MILLIONS: WHAT IS FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION?
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the deliberate removal of all or part of the external female genitalia.
The World Health Organisation describes FGM as any procedure that injures the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It is also referred to as female circumcision or female cutting.
FGM is mostly carried out on young girls in adolescence but is also carried out during childhood and sometimes on babies.
In some cultures, it is seen as a right of passage into womanhood and a condition of marriage. Some believe the genitals will be ‘unclean’ if the female does not have FGM.
There is also a common belief that women need to have FGM to have babies. But, in fact, FGM can cause infertility and an increased risk of childbirth complications.
The procedure is often carried out by a woman with no medical training. Anaesthetics and antiseptic treatments are not generally used and the practice is usually carried out using knives, scissors, scalpels, pieces of glass or razor blades.
The procedure can cause severe bleeding and infections, which can last the woman’s entire lifetime.
It is estimated that 3million girls are cut every year across the world. Around 23,000 of these crimes are carried out in the UK. The practice is particularly rife in some African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries.