Barnardo’s apologised after its Twitter campaign, which was highlighting the prominence on FGM during school holidays, received criticism on social media for featuring a white girl. In a statement the charity said FGM affects more than one community, and that the charity wants to reflect that rather than "stereotype one community".
The Sun wrote that “outraged users accused the charity of diluting its warning by apparently overlooking one of the biggest signs — ethnicity”.
The charity went on to tweet: “FGM doesn’t affect just one community or one religion so we use different images to convey this.
“Regardless, we are truly sorry for any upset caused.”
Barnardo's said it "valued constructive and robust feedback".
Twitter users called on the charity to provide clarity on the communities affected by FGM.
FGM doesn’t affect just one community or religion. Regardless, we’re sorry for any upset caused. We value constructive & robust feedback: pic.twitter.com/9H21D08vLH— Barnardo’s (@barnardos) August 7, 2017
A Barnardo’s spokesperson said: “No girl should ever have to live with the harmful physical and emotional consequences of female genital mutilation (FGM).
“We know FGM is more prevalent in some countries and communities but girls from these and other communities who live in the UK are also at risk and we have a long way to go before the practice ends.
“We work in partnership with different communities in the UK to change attitudes and beliefs about this form of child abuse.
“It’s important people are aware FGM does not affect just one community.
“The United Nations says girls in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, South America, Eastern Europe and Russia are at risk of FGM.
“We try to reflect this fact in the images we use when raising awareness about the issue on social media, rather than stereotype one community.”
The campaign was to advise professionals, including teachers, of the signs a girl may be at risk of undergoing FGM during the summer holidays, which the charity said is often referred to as ‘cutting season’.
It said that potentially thousands of UK girls could be flown abroad to unwittingly undergo the procedure.
There were 1,236 new cases of female genital mutilation recorded in England between January and March 2017, according to figures published by NHS Digital.