OXFORD is a “hotspot” for female genital mutilation (FGM), the Department of Health has said.

The city is one of 11 towns and cities where the practice is thought to be high, it said. County hospitals reported 20 cases since 2013.

From today hospital authorities will have to record cases, whether the victim has a family history of the practice and any related procedure.

The hotspots are where more than two per cent of maternity patients are women from countries with a high prevalence of FGM, all in Africa.

Oxford East MP Andrew Smith said: “I welcome this step, which I think can help make a difference in ending this abhorrent practice. A clear message also needs to go out that perpetrators will be prosecuted, and this should give the police more information to go on. It needs to be coupled with advice and support for victims.”