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Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a collective term for procedures which include the removal of part or all of the external female genitalia for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons.

In addition to the emotional and physical trauma experienced, FGM is known to cause lifelong genitourinary complications and risk during childbirth.

FGM has strong associations with domestic abuse, as the practice is underpinned by coercive control and cultural acceptability of violence against women and girls (including sexual violence).

FGM is illegal – it is an offence for anyone to perform FGM in the UK or to arrange for a girl to be taken abroad for it. FGM is a serious criminal offence in the UK, with a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

Consider FGM if you become aware of:

  • Preparations being made to take a long holiday - arranging vaccinations or planning an absence from school. The school summer holidays may be a high risk time for young girls are taken abroad, often to their family's birth country, to have FGM performed.
  • A child or young person has changed in behaviour after a prolonged absence from school.
  • Shows signs of genitourinary infections and complaints, including persistent need to pass water or difficulties managing menstruation.
  • Where relatives have already experienced FGM this may prompt concern as to the potential risk of harm to other female children in the same family.

If you have concerns about FGM, refer to LSCB FGM Procedures.

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