There were 30 cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) recorded in Croydon between April 2016 and March this year, NHS data has revealed.

FGM is illegal in the UK and involves a partial or total removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons.

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Once more, these figures highlight that FGM continues to affect hundreds of girls and women living in communities across England.

“FGM is child abuse. Despite being illegal for over 30 years, too many people are still being subjected to it and it is right that health services have started to properly record evidence of this horrendous practice.

“The NSPCC Helpline is contacted more than once a day by people worried about girls who may have suffered, or are at risk of, FGM. It takes courage to report concerns as many feel ashamed or worry they will betray friends and family. But we need to end the silence that surrounds FGM to better protect children.”

The statement added that FGM is a child abuse practice that is “common” to some African, Asian and Middle Eastern communities in Britain.

The NSPCC said that most victims are aged between four and ten but there are some cases involving babies.

Anyone with concerns about a child who has suffered or at risk of FGM can speak to an NSPCC FGM helpline on 08000283550 or email for support.

Children can also call Childline on 08001111.