Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Female genital mutilation (sometimes referred to as female circumcision or female cutting) refers to procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The practice is illegal in the UK.

To view the Pan Bedfordshire Female Genital Mutilation, Forced Marriage and Honour Based Abuse Strategy please click here

It has been estimated that over 20,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the UK each year, and that 66,000 women in the UK are living with the consequences of FGM. However, the true extent is unknown, due to the "hidden" nature of the crime.

The girls may be taken to their countries of origin so that FGM can be carried out during the summer holidays, allowing them time to "heal" before they return to school. There are also worries that some girls may have FGM performed in the UK. Further information can be found on NHS Choices Information on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

From 31 October 2015 onwards, regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales will have a mandatory requirement to report visually confirmed or verbally disclosed cases of FGM in girls under 18 to the police. Please click on link to procedural information: Home Office Mandatory reporting procedural information

Safeguarding women and girls at risk of FGM. This document provides practical help to support NHS Organisations developing new safeguarding policies and procedures for femal genital mutilation (FGM) 

Commissioning services to support women and girls with FGM. This document sets out what some elements of a successful and safe service to support women and girls with female genital mutilation (FGM) might look like. Thank you to the many people involved in the development, and we hope that these are useful for healthcare organisations.

FGM E Learning  Three E Learning sessions were released in June 2015, and the Health Education England eFGM programme is live. 

For more information please see You can also read the 2015 Government declaration on female genital mutilation for details on other steps being taken.

FGM ‘Passport’ Statement opposing female genital mutilation has now been published in the following community languages: Turkish, Urdu, Farsi. Somali, Swahili, Arabic, Amharic and Tigrinya.  Please go to Government Statement opposing female genital mutilation where copies can be downloaded. (Updated 07 October 2015)

The Minister for Public Health has written to all NHS Trust chief executives, directors of public health and chairs of clinical commissioning groups across England highlighting the need for extra vigilance with respect to female genital mutilation (FGM) as we approach the school summer holidays. She emphasises that NSPCC helpline staff have been trained by FGM health experts to offer 24/7 support to NHS staff on the complex circumstances surrounding FGM. The NSPCC FGM helpline number is 0800 028 3550. Source: Department of Health 10 July 2015

The BBC reports that Coventry University has designed a new app to educate young people about female genital mutilation. It is endorsed by the NSPCC and has been launched in the run up to the school summer holidays, a period during which a girl's risk of being taken abroad to undergo the procedure increases. Source: : BBC News 07 July 2015

Further information:   

In July 2015 Bedfordshire Police secured the UK’s first ever female genital mutilation protection order, which bans travel by people who are believed to be at risk of FGM. http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/17/police-obtain-first-fgm-protection-order

The Serious Crime Act (2015) requires all regulated health, social care and educational professionals to report cases of FGM in girls under 18 in the course of their professional work, to the Police.

60,000 girls under 15 are at risk of FGM in the UK

137,000 girls and women are living with the consequences of FGM in the UK

Over 130 million girls and women worldwide have undergone FGM

FGM is practiced in more than 29 countries across Africa, parts of the Middle East, South East Asia and countries where migrants from FGM affected communities live.

Additional Resources:

The 3 Safeguarding Children Boards across Bedfordshire have developed some One Minute Information Guides for professionals in relation to FGM, Forced Marriage and Honour Based Abuse that can be accessed by clicking the links below:

One Minute Guide - FGM

One Minute Guide - Forced Marriage

One Minute Guide - Honour Based Abuse

Useful Resources: 

Home Office Female Genital Mutilation: Recognising and Preventing FGM - Resource Pack 

Forced Marriage: You have the right to choose - Posters 


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