What is FGM?

Sometimes called female circumcision or cutting, FGM is a form of child abuse that involves the partial or total removal of the external female genital organs (or injury to them), for cultural or other non-medical reasons.

It has serious health consequences, both at the time of the procedure and into adulthood. There are also long-term emotional and psychological effects from the lasting damage caused by FGM.

The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 makes it illegal to:

  • Practice FGM in the UK
  • Assist a girl to mutilate her own genitalia
  • Take girls who are British Nationals or permanent residents of the UK abroad for FGM regardless of whether it is lawful in that country
  • Do anything with the aim of arranging FGM to be carried out abroad.

FGM offences carry a maximum penalty of up to 14 years in prison and/or a fine.

How to report it

If you or a child you know are in immediate danger call 999 straight away.

If you have information about suspected FGM or think you or someone else may be at risk please call 101.

The NSPCC also offer a 24 hour helpline on 0800 028 3550

Useful links

For further information about FGM and the signs to spot, and organisations offering advice or support, see the links on this page

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