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Female Genital Mutilation

What is Female Genital Mutilation?

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a collective term for procedures, which include the removal of part or all of the external female genitalia for non-medical purposes, for example, pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons.

FGM has been a criminal offence in the UK since the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 was passed. The female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 replaced the 1985 Act and makes it an offence for the first time for UK nationals or permanent UK rewsidents to carry out FGM abroad, or to aid, abet, counsel or procure the carrying out of FGM abroad, even in countries where the practice is legal. 

As of 31st October 2015 there is a mandatory duty on regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales to make a report to the Police where, in the course of their professional duties, they either:

  1. Are informed by a girl under 18 that an act of FGM has been carried out on her; or

  2. Observe physical signs which appear to show that an act of FGM has been carried out on a girl under 18 and they have no reason to believe that the act was necessary for the girl's physical or mental health, or for purposes connected with labour or birth.

Failure to do so may lead to prosecution of the professional.

Information and Guidance Documents

 FGM Procedures and Guidance 2016 (pdf 279kb opens in a new window)

FGM Mandatory Reporting Procedural Information (pdf 252kb opens in a new window)

FGM Mandatory Reporting Duty - Guidance Flowchart (pdf 294kb opens in a new window)

FGM Mandatory Reporting Duty - Leaflet (pdf 85kb opens in a new window)

FGM Mandatory Reporting Duty - Poster (pdf 241kb opens in a new window)

FGM Training

The following online training course is available through the ERSCB.

An introduction to FGM, Forced Marriage,Spirit Possession and Honour Based Violence - Online Training Course

The government also offer the following free online training courses in FGM.

FGM Online Training

Female Genital Mutilation: Recognising and Preventing FGM