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Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female circumcision or cutting refers to procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons and it's illegal in the UK.

It is widely recognised that FGM is a violation of an individual’s human rights and when inflicted on a girl aged under 18 is child abuse.

There are four types of FGM and differing degrees of physical injury inflicted, many of which cause significant long term health consequences. The psychological harm caused by FGM is not well understood but is profound and long lasting. There are no benefits to FGM.

Female genital mutilation is an extremely serious crime. It illegal to:

  • Practice FGM in the UK
  • Assist a girl to mutilate her own genitalia
  • Take girls who are British Nationals or habitual residents of the UK abroad for FGM regardless of whether it is lawful in that country
  • Do anything with the aim of arranging FGM to be carried out abroad

The maximum penalty is 14 years in prison and/or a fine and applies regardless of the age of the woman or girl subjected to FGM.

It is also an offence in the case of a girl aged under 16 for anyone who has parental type responsibility for her to fail to protect her from FGM. This offence has a maximum penalty of 7 years in prison and/or a fine.

In cases where there is felt to be a significant potential risk of FGM happening, an application can be made for an FGM Protection Order through the Family Court.

Important: If you feel in immediate danger, or suspect a child may be in immediate danger, you should dial 999 immediately.

Report it

If you feel you are at risk, suffering from the effects of FGM, suspect a child may be at risk or have any information at all relating to suspected acts of FGM, we would prefer to speak to you:

If contacting us online is the safest way for you to get in touch fill in the Report a crime or incident form.

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