What is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?
FGM is when a girl’s genitalia (vagina) are cut, pricked or otherwise damaged.
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. The practice is most common in the western, eastern, and north-eastern regions of Africa, in some countries the Middle East and Asia, as well as among migrants from these areas. FGM is therefore a global concern.
There are different types of FGM.
They all involve the pseudo-surgical tampering with a girl’s genitalia. In some cases all of their vagina is cut away, or their vaginal opening is sewn up, with only a small hole left to allow for girls to pass wee and blood (periods).
There is a range of support available to help girls and anyone else who has concerns about FGM.
All Calls are Confidential – Call Blue Sky Centre on 0800 970 0370
Alternatively, you can call NSPCC FGM Help Line on 0800 028 3550
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.