Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Increased FGM risk during holiday periods

As the school summer holidays commence, young girls may be taken abroad by their families to have FGM performed, the rationale being to allow time for the child to 'heal' over the long summer holiday period, and to avoid detection when they return to school. Professionals must therefore be even more vigilant in the coming weeks. More information and guidance is available here.

What is FGM?

FGM is an illegal, extremely harmful practice and a form of child abuse and violence against women and girls. The World Health Organization defines female genital mutilation (FGM) as:

 "all procedures (not operations) which involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons."

FGM has been a criminal offence in the UK since the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 was passed. The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 and the Serious Crime Act 2015 have further extended this to protect children who may be taken abroad to undergo FGM and charge offenders.

To help professionals, Southwark have developed decision-making flow charts for FGM. These can be downloaded from the left sidebar.