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Female genital mutilation (FGM)

FGM promotional image

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is the illegal act involving the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other damage to the genital organs, for supposed cultural, religious or non-medical reasons. FGM (also known as female circumcision, 'cutting' and 'sunna') can affect females from birth to pregnancy. It inflicts severe physical and psychological damage which can last a lifetime.

While there is some intelligence to suggest FGM is being physically performed in the UK, most victims are usually taken abroad, commonly on flights in the holiday periods of Easter, summer and Christmas.

What are the warning signs and consequences?

  • Haemorrhage
  • Severe pain & shock
  • Urine retention
  • Infection including tetanus & HIV
  • Injury to adjacent tissue
  • Fracture or dislocation to limbs as a result of restraint
  • Difficulty with passing urine & chronic urinary tract infections leading to renal problems or renal failure
  • Difficulties with menstruation
  • Acute & chronic pelvic infections leading to infertility
  • Sexual dysfunction/psychological damage and flashbacks
  • Complications during pregnancy
  • Chronic scar formations
  • Death

FGM - the law:

It is an offence under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 for a person to excise, infibulate or otherwise mutilate the whole or any part of a girls labia majora, labia minora, or clitoris either in the UK (excluding Scotland) or to arrange for a female to be taken abroad for the purpose of FGM. This includes:

  • Assisting a girl to mutilate her own genitalia
  • Assisting a non-UK person to mutilate overseas a girls genitalia, even if FGM in that country is legal

Anyone found guilty of an FGM offence or aiding and abetting an offence faces up to 14 years in prison.

Domestic abuse - help available
Domestic abuse - help available

28 too many

28 Too Many is a registered charity in England and Wales (1150379), established in 2010 by Dr Ann-Marie Wilson to undertake research and provide knowledge and tools to those working to end FGM in the countries in Africa where it is practiced and across the diaspora worldwide.

Childline

Childline helps anyone under 19 in the UK with any issue they're going through. Whether it's something big or small, our trained counsellors are here to support you. Childline is free, confidential and available any time, day or night.

Daughters of Eve

Daughters of  Eve is a non profit organisation, that works to advance and protect the physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health rights of  young people from female genital mutilation practising communities.

Foundation for Women's Health

A leading African diaspora women's campaign and support organisation who works through partnerships in the UK, Europe and Africa to transform lives, tackling discriminatory practices that affect the dignity and wellbeing of girls and women, focusing on female genital mutilation (FGM), child marriage and obstetric fistula.

Home Office advice

NSPCC

Call the FGM helpline if you're worried a child is at risk of, or has had, FGM. It's free, anonymous and we're here 24/7.

  • 0800 028 3550