Female genital mutilation (FGM) is not being taken seriously in Northern Ireland, according to a new report commissioned by the African and Caribbean Support Organisation Northern Ireland (ACSONI).
The report criticised the fact there is no departmental body responsible for the issue and that there is no plan in place to implement multi-agency guidelines.
Joseph Ricketts, of ACSONI, told BBC News:
“FGM is considered as child abuse and a harmful practice with devastating health consequences for girls and women.
He added that it is essential that information is distributed widely enough for those at risk to be supported and that safeguards are put in place to end these practices.
There is no data on the number of women and girls affected by FGM in Northern Ireland.
FGM is typically carried out on girls under 15, with most procedures undertaken on girls under the age of five.