Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Key facts

  • Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons
  • The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women
  • Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of new-born deaths
  • More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated
  • FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15, and occasionally on adult women
  • FGM is internationally recognised as a violation of the human rights of girls and women
  • The maximum sentence for carrying out FGM or helping it to take place is 14 years in prison

World Health Organisation - January 2018

Suspicions may arise in a number of ways that a child is being prepared for FGM to take place abroad. If any agency becomes aware of a child who may have been subjected to or is at risk of FGM they must make a referral to Children's Social Care (see Referrals to Children's Social Care Procedure).

For the Multi-agency statutory guidance on female genital mutilation from the Home Office, click here.

Legal Requirements to Report Cases

Since October 2015, doctors, nurses, midwives and teachers are now legally required to report cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) to the police. For the Mandatory Reporting Guidance from the Home Office, click here.

Failure to do so will result in disciplinary measures and could ultimately lead to them being barred from working: Government guidance.

The rules apply in England and Wales when girls under 18 say they have been cut or staff recognise the signs.

All professionals need to consider whether any other indicators exist that FGM may have or has already taken place. For example:

  • Preparations are being made to take a long holiday - arranging vaccinations or planning an absence from school
  • The child has changed in behaviour after a prolonged absence from school
  • The child has health problems, particularly bladder or menstrual problems
  • You are aware of women in the family who have had the procedure and this may prompt concern as to the potential risk of harm to other female children

FGM Procedures

The LLR LSCB multi-agency safeguarding procedures relating to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) were updated in 2015 and should be used by practitioners with immediate effect. Click here to be taken to the procedures.

How to report female genital mutilation: guidance for health

FGM films for healthcare professionals

The Department of Health has published a set of films about female genital mutilation (FGM) for healthcare professionals. Topics covered include: the impact of FGM on mental health; mandatory reporting; personal experiences of FGM and how healthcare professionals can support victims.

Source: Department of Health Date: 30 August 2016

Further information: FGM resources for healthcare professionals


Please click on this link to access the FGM Leaflet giving advice and information about Female Genital Mutilation


Film urges people across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to look out for and report signs of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

  • Hard hitting film spells out the facts and dangers about FGM
  • Impending summer holiday season a peak time for FGM activity
  • Girls at risk of "procedure that will devastate her life for ever" warns leading FGM expert

A hard-hitting film was launched in 2015 by the Safeguarding Children Boards and three Clinical Commissioning Groups across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR), urging people to be on the look-out for signs of FGM and report them to the police.

FGM is any procedure which involves the partial or complete removal of the external female FGM genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

All types of FGM have been illegal in the UK since the 1985 Female Circumcision Prohibition Act.

Anyone suspecting FGM can report it by contacting

(0116) 305 0005 (Leicestershire County Council)

(0116) 454 1004 (Leicester City Council)

(01572) 758 407 (Rutland County Council)

The film sets out the shocking health risks of FGM:

  • Severe pain and shock, broken limbs (from being held down) infection, increased HIV/AIDS risk, urine retention, tissue injury and fatal haemorrhaging
  • In the short term, uterus, vaginal and pelvic infections, cysts and neuromas, infertility, increased risk of fistula, pregnancy and childbirth complications
  • In the longer term, psycho-sexual, psychological and social consequences, trauma flashbacks and depression
  • Around 10% of FGM victims die from short term effects and 1 in 4 from recurrent problems.

In the film, Dr Sudhir Sethi, LLR Designated Doctor for Safeguarding Children, says: "We have sizeable communities across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland who may be at risk from FGM. From my perspective, FGM is a violation of the rights of a child. Children have a right to be protected from any form of torture, inhumane or degrading treatment."

"If you act and protect one child, you will potentially be protecting many children in that child's family, community and extended family."

"The signs can be very subtle. The girl might simply say she is going on a long holiday and might simply say there is going to be a great celebration or a special event – or she may say she is going and will return as a proper woman. That's all we will get."

The film is available at https://youtu.be/2XdHwHGJHCk