Female genital mutilation (FGM) also known as female circumcision or cutting, is a collective term for procedures which include the partial or total removal of the external female genital organs, or injury to the female genital organs, for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons.
FGM is medically unnecessary, is extremely painful, and has serious health consequences, both at the time of the procedure, and in later life. It can also be psychologically damaging.
The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 makes it
· illegal to practice FGM in the UK
· illegal to assist a girl to mutilate her own genitalia
· illegal to take girls who are British Nationals or permanent residents of the UK abroad for FGM whether or not it is lawful in that country;
· illegal to aid, abet, counsel or procure the carrying out of FGM abroad;
An offence under this act has a maximum penalty of up to 14 years in prison and/or a fine.
The 2003 Act has been amended by the Serious Crime Act 2015, These new provisions include –
· Mandatory notification - a school staff member must make a “FGM Notification” to the police if, in the course of their duties, they discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out on a girl under 18.
· Make failing to protect a girl under the age of 16 from FGM an offence (the offence is committed by a person who has parental responsibility for her or has assumed responsibility for her care);
Signs of FGM
After someone has experienced FGM, they might feel isolated and like nobody will understand. Often they’re told not to tell anyone and there can be a lot of pressure to act normal. If someone has experienced FGM, they don’t have to keep it to themselves.
A girl or woman might:
· have difficulty walking, sitting or standing
· spend longer than normal in the bathroom or toilet
· seem different after being away from school or college
· not want to go to see their doctor for a check-up
· ask for help or be in pain but not tell you exactly what the problem is
· be tearful and struggle to concentrate.
· FGM is abuse and a criminal offence.
· There is no religious or medical reason for FGM.
· There are no cultural reasons that can justify FGM.
· Everyone has the right not to be pressured into having FGM.
· Everyone has the right to stay safe and get help.
If you have any questions or concerns about the FGM and what it might means for your child or a child you know, please do not hesitate to contact the school.
See our policies
You will find more details about FGM in our Child Protection & Safeguarding Policy
There is lots of information and support available online for parents/carers concerned about this subject or if you know someone who is at risk:
The NSPCC has detailed advice on how to spot the signs, symptoms and effects of FGM and provides support for people who are concerned about a child or who have been affected themselves. The link to the website is below.
If you are worried that a child is at risk of, or has had FGM, you can call the FGM helpline. It is free, anonymous and they are available 24hours. Call them on 0800 028 3550, or email them at:
Alternatively, you can call police on 101 if you have information about FGM, believe a child maybe at risk or feel your child is at risk of being cut out of your control. In an emergency, dial 999.
You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or the NSPCC's FGM Helpline on 0800 028 3550 999.