Female Genital Mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

fgmFGM is also known as female circumcision or female genital cutting, is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the range of procedures which involve “the partial or complete removal of the external female genitalia or another injury to female genital organism whether form cultural or any other non-therapeutic reason”. It is a deeply rooted tradition widely practiced among specific populations in Africa and parts of Asia, which served as a complex form of social control of women’s sexual and reproductive rights. Procedures are mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15, and occasionally on adult women.

FGM is practiced in 29 African countries and therefore girls from those countries living in the UK are at risk of FGM and include those form; Somali, Kenyan, Ethiopian, Sierra Leonean, Sudanese, Egyptian, Nigerian, Eritrean, Yemeni, Kurdish and Indonesian women and girls. Girls from non-African communities living in the UK who are also likely to be at risk include; Yemeni, Iraq Kurd, Indonesian and Pakistani. FORWARD UK estimates that’s as many as 6,500 girls are at risk of FGM within the UK every year.

Different countries have different words or terms for FGM. The LSCB website has a table which came from here; http://www.forwarduk.org.uk/key-issues/fgm/definitions

FGM is believed to be a way of ensuring virginity and chastity. It is used to safeguard girls from sex outside marriage and from having sexual feelings. Although FGM is practiced by secular communities, it is most often claimed to be carried out in accordance with religious beliefs. FGM is not supported by any religious doctrine.

Short term health problems include severe pain, difficulty passing urine, bleeding, infection and death. For some types of FGM long-term problems include difficulty passing urine and long painful periods. For some types there may be a long scar, which can make sex and childbirth difficult. Recurrent infections can lead to infertility. Women ay also feel angry, depressed and suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.

FGM is a complex issue – despite the harm it causes, many women and men from practicing communities consider it to be normal to protect their cultural identity.

How to respond to concerns; please follow the referral pathway.

FGM Helpline Email: fgmhelp@nspcc.org.uk
Telephone: 0800 028 3550

Resources and Documents:

FGM Fact Sheet – Download

FGM Pathway Plan – Download

Multi-Agency FGM Guidelines – Download

London FGM Procedures – Download

National FGM Poster – Download

National FGM Leaflet – Download

FGM Resource Pack:
The FGM resource pack has lots of excellent case studies and resources for sector specific professionals, leaflets to use in different languages. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/female-genital-mutilation-resource-pack/female-genital-mutilation-resource-pack

FGM App: Petals
This new App has been created to help protect young girls and women from female genital mutilation (FGM). It includes: information about FGM; personal stories from those who have been affected; links to educational films; a quiz; and tips on how to get involved in campaigning to end the practice. it provides details of where those affected or at risk can go to get help and advice and provides access the NSPCC’s National FGM Helpline at the touch of a button. It works across most mobile devices.


The organisation, Rights of Women, has published a briefing on female genital mutilation and the law.


“Ending FGM – its everybody’s business”

Everybody’s Business is a youth-led website that raises awareness about female genital mutilation (FGM); provides regular comment about UK and global actions to end the practice and most importantly provides space for young people to add their voice to the FGM campaign. Read more about this website.

By acting together we can make ending FGM everybody’s business.

Sing. Shout. Smile. Laugh. Live. #EndFGM


Norbury School- FGM video campaign

To raise awareness of Female genital mutilation (FGM), Norbury School have  created a successful video campaign.

See link below for the FGM video:


The school had six months of regular meetings with stakeholders including health services, children’s services, their parent group, the voluntary sector, the police, cluster schools and charities to understand the facts, the various educational approaches, training and engagement with communities.

Following these meetings the school created their own FGM lesson plans, resources and approaches which they were shared with their stakeholders and modified as required.
All Year 5 & 6 pupils’ parents met the school and reviewed the resources before the lessons were piloted and INSETs were held for their staff, governors and parents.



There is a free E-learning module on FGM powered by the Virtual College


The Guardian reports on three sisters, aged 6, 9 and 12, who have become subject to a new-style protection order preventing them from being taken out of the UK to under female genital mutilation (FGM).
Source: Guardian 24 July 2015

Other useful local contacts:

FORWARD (Foundation for Women’s Health Research and Development)
Forward UK is an African Diaspora women led UK-registered campaign and support charity dedicated to advancing and safeguarding the sexual and reproductive health and rights of African girls and women

Southall Black Sisters 21 Avenue Road, Southall, UB1 3BL
Email: info@southallblacksisters.co.uk
Phone: Helpline: 020 8571 0800 Enquiries: 020 8571 9595
Metropolitan Police Service; Project Azure 0207 230 8324

fgm 2

What to do if you are worried about a child. To discuss concerns or make a referral: