TEENAGER Nia Fekri hopes her efforts and those of fellow students will help spread awareness about female genital mutilation (FGM).

The A-Level student at Cheney School in Headington is among a movement of people who want greater understanding of the issue.

This month the 17-year-old organised a talk at her school attended by about 100 people, mostly students, and including city obstetrician Dr Brenda Kelly.

It comes after the Government last month announced regulated healthcare and social care professionals and teachers will have to report FGM cases. Since last September all hospital authorities have had to provide a monthly report on cases, and there have been 36 recorded in Oxfordshire from January 2013 to last November.

The practice can include the altering or removal of external female genital organs for cultural or “non-therapeutic” reasons.

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Miss Fekri said: “We haven’t seen the full scale of it. One of the problems with FGM is a lot of women decide not to go to the GP and hospital precisely because they have had FGM and have a fear of shame. There is a right to know about these things. Not knowing about it is just scary which means students in my school and junior school don’t know where to go.”

The event on February 6 included an art display and talk by Oxford Against Cutting. The group was formed in October by Kate Clayton-Hathway and Kate Agha, who said: “We were surprised, we had such a big turnout. There is momentum in tackling FGM.”

The group is working with teenagers aged 13 to 18 to produce a booklet to help teachers “start conversations”.

Dr Kelly said she sees cases while caring for pregnant women and said all had taken place abroad earlier in the victims’ life.

Dr Kelly, who holds the confidential Oxford Rose Clinic every month at the John Radcliffe Hospital to see sufferers, said: “I don’t have the information to suggest that it is happening in Oxfordshire.

“There is a risk that children whose parents come from another country, if they go back, there is a potential risk. That is why it is so important we engage with those women and families when they are here.”

Countries where sufferers have come from include Sudan, Somalia, Egypt, The Gambia, Kenya and Nigeria, as well as the Middle East and South East Asia. Urinating, menstruation and sexual activity can be damaged by some types of FGM, she said, and sufferers often have depression. She said: “One of the emotions is grief. Something has been done to them without their consent.”