Female genital mutilation (FGM) also known as ‘female circumcision’ or ‘cutting’ is a term for procedures which partially or totally remove external genital organs, or cause injury to them, for cultural or non-medical reasons. FGM is considered to be child abuse in the UK.
While some parents may not think it’s harmful, it’s medically unnecessary, extremely painful and has serious health consequences.
A number of girls die from blood loss or infection. In the longer term, they’re twice as likely to die in childbirth, and four times more likely to give birth to a stillborn child.
The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 makes it illegal to:
- practice FGM in the UK
- assist a girl to mutilate her own genitalia, whether in the UK or abroad
- take British Nationals or permanent UK residents abroad for FGM whether or not it’s lawful in that country
It’s also illegal for UK nationals or permanent UK residents to:
- perform FGM on anyone overseas
- help FGM be carried out abroad
FGM offences can lead to 14 years in prison and/or a fine.
For more information
- NSPCC FGM Helpline – 0800 028 3550
- FORWARD - Foundation for Women's Health Research and Development. Forward was established in the UK in 1983 and are based in North West London. They formed in response to health professionals seeing a rise in problems caused by Female Genital Mutilation. They work to eliminate the practice and provide support to women affected by FGM.
- National FGM Centre – 0208 498 7137
- IKWRO - IKWRO (Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation) provides advice and support to Middle Eastern women and girls living in the UK who are facing forced marriage, 'honour' based violence, FGM and domestic abuse.
- Daughters of Eve - an organisation that works to protect girls and young women who are at risk from Female Genital Mutilation.
- Black Women's Health and Family Support [BWHAFS] - their primary area of concern is promoting the eradication of Female Genital Mutilation [FGM]. They predominantly work with Somali and other black communities in London, in particular Tower Hamlets.