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Female Genital Mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is any procedure which involves the partial or complete removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for no medical reason. Many believe that FGM is necessary to ensure acceptance by their community, however this custom is against the law in the UK and many other countries.

All types of FGM are illegal in the UK; it is an offence to take a female out of the UK for FGM or for anyone to circumcise women or children for cultural or non-medical reasons here in the UK.

Types of FGM

FGM has been categorised into four types, ranging from a symbolic pricking to the clitoris or prepuce, to the fairly extensive removal and closing of the vaginal opening. All these forms of FGM have been found in the UK.

Usually it is a girls’ parents or her extended family who are responsible for arranging FGM. Some of the reasons given for the continued practice include protecting family honour, preserving tradition, ensuring a women’s chastity, cleanliness and as a preparation for marriage.

Whilst FGM is seen often by family as an act of love, rather than cruelty, it causes significant harm and constitutes physical and emotional abuse. FGM is considered to be child abuse in the UK and violation of a child’s right to life and their body integrity as well as of their right to health.

The Home Office have published this information sheet to help professionals understand what it is; how to spot the signs and what to do about it.

This FGM leaflet, supported by the Muslim Council of Britain, discusses the risks of FGM and the myths surrounding FGM practice and the Islamic faith.

In this short NSPCC video survivors, community leaders and health professionals talk about their thoughts and experiences of female genital mutilation (FGM), female circumcision or ‘cutting’.

Coventry University has designed a new app to educate young people about female genital mutilation. It is endorsed by the NSPCC and has been launched in the run up to the school summer holidays, a period during which a girl’s risk of being taken abroad to undergo the procedure increases. The app, which works across most mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and lap tops via an internet browser, is aimed primarily at young girls living in affected communities and at risk from FGM. But it can also be used as an educational tool to teach young people and others the facts and realities of FGM.

NSPCC UK Helpline on Female Genital Mutilation

NSPCC operate a helpline, specialising in responses to female genital mutilation (FGM), it is supported by the Metropolitan Police, and is in association with a number of voluntary and professional groups, including FGM charities.

The Female Genital Mutilation Helpline is a UK-wide service.  It  operates 24/7, and is staffed by specially trained child protection helpline counsellors who can offer advice, information, and assistance to members of the public and to professionals.  Counsellors will are able to make referrals, as appropriate, to statutory agencies and other services.

The helpline can be contacted on: 0800 028 3550 and emails sent to

Reporting FGM

A new mandatory reporting duty for FGM has been introduced via the Serious Crime Act 2015, following a public consultation. The duty requires regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales to report known cases of FGM in under 18-year-olds to the police. The mandatory reporting duty came into force on the 31st October 2015.

Kirklees FGM Strategy 2018

The Kirklees FGM Strategy provides an overview of FGM, including definitions, prevalence and impact. Its primary aim is to provide advice and support to frontline professionals who have responsibilities to safeguard children, young people and adults at risk from the abuses associated with female genital mutilation (FGM). The Strategy sets out a multi-agency response and encourages agencies to cooperate and work together.

Forced Marriage Resource pack

Forced marriage resource pack – GOV.UK (

This resource pack was developed following a commitment in the Government’s Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy (VAWG), published in July 2021. The Strategy recognised that more could be done to provide frontline professionals, including local authorities, the police, schools, healthcare services and others, with additional resources on forced marriage.

The resource pack has been designed to highlight examples of best practice and to help ensure that effective support is available to victims of forced marriage.

This pack includes:

  • case studies of people who have experienced forced marriage;
  • resources produced by both statutory and non-statutory organisations; and
  • links to support organisations and helplines which can help people who may be at risk of forced marriage

Local Resources

National Resources

7 Minutes Briefing

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