Female genital mutilation (FGM) is also known as female circumcision or female genital cutting and in practicing communities by local terms such as ‘tahor’ or ‘sunna’. It is a form of child abuse which can have devastating physical and psychological consequences for girls and women. It is estimated that there are 24,000 girls at risk of FGM in the UK, so it is key that we are all alert to it, know who may be at risk and what to do if you have a concern.

There has been recent coverage of the issue in the media and there are multi-agency guidelines available which provides information in understanding the issues around FGM, identifying those at risk and good practice: Multi-agency statutory guidance on female genital mutilation. There is also guidance on information to gather for a good referral here.

There is a free Home Office e-learning package for you to access: FGM E-Learning.

For more information go to the South West Child Protection Procedures.

Female genital mutilation: resource pack here

The National FGM Centre, works to train social workers to become better at identifying girls who may be at risk of undergoing the practice, and to know how to report it. This includes an online assessment tool, guiding them through the right questions to ask families.

Mandatory Reporting of FGM Procedural Information

The Mandatory Reporting of FGM Procedural Information document gives professionals subject to the duty (health, social care and teachers) an understanding of the legal requirements it places on them, a suggested process to follow, and an overview of the action which may be taken if they fail to comply with the duty. It also aims to give the police an understanding of the duty and the next steps upon receiving a report.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Protection Orders: what are they and how can they help?

Female Genital Mutilation Protection Orders (FGMPOs) offer a legal means to protect and safeguard victims and potential victims of FGM. The Home Office have produced a FGM Protection Orders Factsheet  which explains more about them.

Statement opposing FGM

If you are concerned about FGM in relation to a child, young person or family you are working with a FGM Passport has also been produced which provides a statement opposing female genital mutilation (FGM).  This can be taken abroad to explain the criminal status of FGM in the UK. It outlines what FGM is, the legislation and penalties involved and the help and support available. Click the link below to download the pocket sized statement, which is also available in a number of languages:

Statement opposing female genital mutilation

FGM Campaign Posters to download.

What to do if you are concerned

If you know someone in immediate danger, contact the police.

If you are concerned that a child is at risk of FGM; is a victim of FGM; a women who has had FGM is pregnant and therefore you are concerned about risk of FGM to the unborn baby contact MASH on 0300 456 0108.

You should also contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office if she’s already been taken abroad:

  • telephone: 020 7008 1500
  • from overseas: +44 (0)20 7008 1500
  • find out about call charges

The NSPCC also provides further information and advice on FGM. You can email them or call their Free 24 helpline. NSPCC – Female Genital Mutilation.