Topic: Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

This toolkit aims to support and assist education staff, partner agencies and CYP practitioners in their work with children, young people and families. Further information, advice and resources specific to FGM, including some in multiple languages, can be accessed via the additional resources button on this page.

Introduction

Honour Based Abuse (HBA) covers harmful cultural practices and is often under-reported because those at risk can feel tied by family or community loyalty, be too distressed to speak out or are afraid of the consequences.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) or female circumcision is the term for procedures which involve the partial or total removal of the external female genital organs, or injury to the female genital organs, for cultural, religious, social or other non-medical reasons within families and communities.

FGM is known to take place in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Girls born in the UK, or who are resident here, whose families originate from an FGM practising community are at risk of FGM happening to them.

FGM is an operation which is medically unnecessary, extremely painful and has serious health consequences for the girls and women involved, resulting in girls dying every year of blood loss, infection and other complications caused by the procedure. It inflicts severe physical and psychological damage, which can last a lifetime.

The Petals Web-app provides detailed information for professionals and young people about FGM, including the signs and risks, making referrals, the law and statutory reporting.

Law Overview

In the UK, FGM is recognised as child abuse and a crime. Anyone found to be guilty of an FGM offence, including aiding and abetting an offence to take place, faces up to 14 years in prison.

It is unlawful for any UK National, or permanent UK resident to:

  • carry out the act itself
  • assist or arrange for a female to be taken abroad for the purpose of FGM
  • assist a female to mutilate her own genitalia
  • fail to protect a female from FGM

FGM Mandatory Reporting Duty

The mandatory reporting duty requires regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales to report ‘known’ cases of FGM in under 18s which they identify in the course of their professional work to the police as outlined in the Home Office publication: Multi-agency statutory guidance on female genital mutilation

Through a dedicated FGM group, Hampshire Constabulary works in partnership with statutory agencies, specialist services and communities to ensure we focus our work with the national delivery plan to ‘prepare, prevent, protect and pursue’ to stop girls and women coming to harm.

Operational groups in Southampton and Portsmouth focus on the response in the two cities specific to safeguarding, raising awareness, increase reporting, gather intelligence, work with professionals and engage communities to develop and support infrastructures for victims and survivors of FGM.