Northern Ireland report on female genital mutilation
A report on female genital mutilation in Northern Ireland will be launched today at Stormont.
The event will be hosted by the African and Caribbean Support Organisation Northern Ireland (ACSONI) in association with community groups.
The research was carried out by a team from Ulster University.
The NHS estimated that approximately 137,000 women and girls are affected by FGM in the UK. AkiDwa, a national network of migrant women, said approximately 3,780 females in Ireland have undergone the procedure.
FGM is any procedure which involves the removal of part or all of external genitalia for non-medical reasons. It is believed to be most common between the ages of four and 10.
It can cause chronic infection, severe pain, childbirth complications and psychological trauma.
Dr Fiona Bloomer from Ulster University said the study had identified a series of key issues.
Jospeh Rickett from the ACSONI said female genital mutilation was child abuse and a harmful practice with devastating health consequences for women.