Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

FGM also known as female circumcision or female genital cutting, is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as "all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons"  as defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

FGM is illegal in the UK under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003. 

The practice is mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers, who often play other central roles in communities, such as attending childbirths. In many settings, health care providers perform FGM due to the belief that the procedure is safer when medicalised. UK communities that are at risk of FGM include Somali, Kenyan, Ethiopian, Sierra Leonean, Sudanese, Egyptian, Nigerian, Eritrean, Yemeni, Kurdish and Indonesian women and girls (Home Office FGM: Resource Pack 2019).

FGM is believed to be a way of ensuring virginity and chastity. It is used to safeguard girls from sex outside marriage and from having sexual feelings. Although FGM is practised by secular communities, it is most often claimed to be carried out in accordance with religious beliefs. FGM is not supported by any religious doctrine.

The UK Government have provided a Female Genital Mutilation Resource Pack that includes information on legislation, case studies, effective practice and resources along with useful contacts, helplines and clinics.

The World Health Organisation provide information and key facts on FGM including the different types of procedures and practices used

Click here for downloadable Infographics on FGM provided by the World Health Organisation.