Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

What is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?

FGM is when a girl’s external genitalia (private parts) are cut or pricked.

It is mainly carried out on young girls between the ages of 8 – 15, often when girls leave primary school and before they enter secondary school, but can be carried out at any age.

There are different types of FGM.

They all involve cutting different bits of a girl’s private parts. In some cases all of their private parts are cut away and their vagina sewn up, with only a small hole left to allow for girls to wee and pass blood (periods).

FGM is illegal in the UK

In the UK FGM has been a criminal offence since 1985 (Female Circumcision Act). In 2003 the law was updated and renamed the Female Genital Mutilation Act. This means that anyone found to be involved in FGM including sending girls abroad for FGM can be prosecuted and sent to prison for up to 14 years.

Under UK law FGM is regarded as a human rights issue. When it involves a girl under 18 years it is regarded as child abuse and when it involves a women over the age of 18 it is treated as violence against women.

Where to get help and advice

There is a range of support available to help girls and anyone else who has concerns about FGM.

NSPCC FGM help line
phone: 0800 028 3550
email: fgmhelp@nspcc.org.uk

phone: 0800 1111

Contact the Police
phone: 101 (non-urgent calls)
phone: 999 (emergency)

These numbers are free and available in England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland, 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

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