Female Genital Mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. FGM has no health benefits for girls and women. It can cause severe bleeding, problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths.

FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and adolescence, and occasionally on adult women. It is illegal in the UK, and it is abuse.

FGM is very painful and can seriously harm the health of women and girls.

All women and girls have the right to control what happens to their bodies and the right to say no to FGM.

Help is available if you have had FGM or you’re worried that you or someone you know is at risk.

  • If someone is in immediate danger, contact the police immediately by dialling 999.
  • If you’re concerned that someone may be at risk, contact the NSPCC helpline on 0800 028 3550 or fgmhelp@nspcc.org.uk.
  • If you’re under pressure to have FGM performed on your daughter, ask a GP, your health visitor or another healthcare professional for help, or contact the NSPCC helpline.
  • If you have had FGM, you can get help from a specialist NHS gynaecologist or FGM service – ask a GP, your midwife or any other healthcare professional about services in your area.

Read about National FGM Support Clinics and where to find them.

If you’re a health professional caring for a patient under 18 who’s had FGM, you have professional responsibilities to safeguard and protect her. A mandatory reporting duty for FGM 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 FGM duty came into force on 31 October 2015.

There are 4 types of FGM, which you can research via this link: Guidance and resources about FGM for healthcare staff or on the GOV.UK website.

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Page last updated 22 June 2022