Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

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.

The multi-agency guidelines for those with statutory duties to safeguard children and vulnerable adults have recently been updated. Read the updated guidance.

Accessing Support

National FGM Support Clinics are a place for women with FGM to discuss their health needs in a sensitive and non-judgmental environment.

The services are provided by an all-female team and include:

  • physical assessments and treatment (including deinfibulation if required)
  • emotional support and counselling
  • general information
  • access to FGM Health Advocates
  • referral to a specialist consultant, if needed

Click here to find your nearest clinic. More information is also available in this document.