London has united in zero tolerance for female genital mutilation.

Following the landmark court case last Friday where a woman who mutilated her three-year-old daughter became the first person in the UK to be found guilty of female genital mutilation, Whipps Cross Hospital has today united organisations from across east London to reaffirm their commitment to eradicating the practice.

The collaborative initiative marks an international day of zero tolerance for female genital mutilation.

London's deputy mayor for policing and crime, Sophie Linden was joined by clinicians, Waltham Forest Council members and others where they heard from local women personally affected by the practice.

Mrs Linden said: "As organisations across the world come together to mark the international day of zero tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, the Mayor is clear in his absolute commitment to tackling harmful practices in the capital.

"Last week's landmark female genital mutilation conviction sends a clear message to those who practice this barbaric act that it will no longer go unpunished.

"Thousands of girls are at risk in our city, which is why it's vital that we make sure there's a consistent approach and understanding from the frontline professionals who are responding to this horrific crime.

"The Mayor's contribution to the first walk-in clinic offering specialist treatment for people who have experienced harmful practices, is a great example of his commitment to ensuring that every women and girl who needs support has access to it."

Last June Whipps Cross Hospital because the first hospital in England to open walk-in clinics offering cervical screening to women who have suffered female genital mutilation.

The conviction of the woman from Walthamstow was last Friday in the landmark court case, was a result of concerns initially raised by staff at Whipps Cross Hospital.

The hospital, run by Barts Health NHS Trust, had in the previous year launched one of just a few specialist maternity units in the country for female genital mutilation sufferers.

Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Reeba Oliver at the trust runs the clinics.

She said: "We offer a specialist service for female genital mutilation survivors, particularly those who avoid having a cervical screening test because of the fear that a vaginal examination evokes due to the psychological trauma they have experienced.

"Female genital mutilation has serious health consequences that go into adulthood; there are long-term emotional, psychological and physical effects from the damage caused. I strongly encourage women in the borough to use the service where they will be treated with support, dignity and understanding.”

Cllr Ahsan Khan, Cabinet member for Community Safety and Cohesion at Waltham Forest Council said: "It is shocking and saddening that we still see girls and young women forced to undergo this damaging abuse in the 21st century. Those who undergo the procedure carry the effects with them for the rest of their lives, while all too often those who perpetrate the abuse go unpunished.

"We are committed to working with other organisations and survivors to spread the message about how harmful female genital mutilation is and why it is unacceptable. Help is available for anyone affected by the issue and I urge those who have undergone female genital mutilation, or know someone who may be at risk, to come forward and seek that support."

Female genital mutilation is classified as a form of child abuse.

It is illegal in the UK carrying a custodial sentence of up to twelve years for anyone who arranges for a procedure to take place in this country and abroad.

Since 2015 all health professionals have a duty to report all cases of female genital mutilation, meaning the NHS is now well positioned to have those conversations and offer specialist support.

According to data collected by the NHS there were 2,025 hospital attendances between July and September 2018 where female genital mutilation was identified or a procedure for the practice was undertaken, with almost half relating to women and girls in London.

The practice causes serious long-term emotional, psychological and physical health damage that continues into adulthood.