Female Genital Mutilation
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
FGM is also known as female circumcision or female genital cutting. FGM is defined by the World Health Organisation as the range of procedures which involve “the partial or complete removal of the external female genitalia or another injury to female genital organism whether forms cultural or any other non-therapeutic reason”. It is a deeply rooted tradition which is practiced globally including countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. For more information regarding the prevalence rates of FGM internationally please click here
FORWARD UK estimates that’s as many as 6,500 girls are at risk of FGM within the UK every year.
Different countries have different words for terms and words for FGM
FGM is believed to be a way of ensuring virginity and chastity. It is used to safeguard girls from sex outside marriage and from having sexual feelings. Although FGM is practiced by secular communities, it is most often claimed to be carried out in accordance with religious beliefs. FGM is not supported by any religious doctrine. FGM serves as a complex form of social control of women’s sexual and reproductive rights. Procedures are mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15, and occasionally on adult women.
Short term health problems include severe pain, difficulty passing urine, bleeding, infection and death. For some types of FGM long-term problems include difficulty passing urine and long painful periods. For some types there may be a long scar, which can make sex and childbirth difficult. Recurrent infections can lead to infertility. Women ay also feel angry, depressed and suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.
FGM is a complex issue – despite the harm it causes, many women and men from practicing communities consider it to be normal to protect their cultural identity, ensure their daughters marriageability and place within the community.
Additional resources and services
FGM Helpline Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: 0800 028 3550
FGM Fact Sheet – Download
FGM Pathway Plan – Download
Multi-Agency FGM Guidelines – Download
London FGM Procedures – Download
National FGM Leaflet – Download
FGM Resource Pack:
The FGM resource pack has lots of excellent case studies and resources for sector specific professionals, leaflets to use in different languages. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/female-genital-mutilation-resource-pack/female-genital-mutilation-resource-pack
Other useful local contacts:
FORWARD (Foundation for Women’s Health Research and Development)
Forward UK is an African Diaspora women led UK-registered campaign and support charity dedicated to advancing and safeguarding the sexual and reproductive health and rights of African girls and women
Southall Black Sisters 21 Avenue Road, Southall, UB1 3BL
Phone: Helpline: 020 8571 0800 Enquiries: 020 8571 9595
Metropolitan Police Service; Project Azure 0207 230 8324