MORE than 60 cases of female genital mutilation have been reported in Barnsley since 2015, the latest figures have revealed.

Police and health bosses in Barnsley are now urging residents to be aware of the signs of FGM which include any procedure that removes part or all the external female genitalia, or any that involves injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

Victims are forced to undergo the illegal procedures against their will.

It is incredibly painful and victims face serious health and long term physical and psychological complications.

The latest figures show that since records began in 2015, health services have identified more than 60 victims in the area.

There are also currently 24 FGM protection orders in place in South Yorkshire to safeguard women and girls who are at risk of the abuse.

Protection orders are granted by the courts and place restrictions on travel and contact with people who have been identified as a threat. Thanks to these protection orders, partnership working between police, health, local authorities and education settings, the training of professionals, and awareness raising, more and more women and girls are protected from the crimes and abuse of FGM.

Suzanne Jackson, South Yorkshire Police’s lead for honour-based abuse, said: “Every woman and girl has the right to live their life free from abuse.

“FGM is unacceptable, there is never any excuse, but it is still taking place today.

“It is a heinous crime and individuals who choose to commit these evil and barbaric acts will experience the full force of the law.

“South Yorkshire Police will continue to raise awareness, support victims, hold perpetrators to account, and build on our strong partnership working with specialist charities and colleagues in health, social care and education to eradicate FGM.

“The crime can be historic or recent, but the suffering endured is lifelong and no one should have to live with the consequences of a mutilation that did not need to happen.

“The word mutilation illustrates the sickening nature of this act, committed by family and community members the very people who should provide love, support and protection.

“It is a complete betrayal.”

Residents are being urged to spot the signs and contact 101 if they think someone may be at risk of FGM.