Female Genital Mutilation
It has been estimated that over 20,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk of FGM in the UK each year, and that 66,000 women in the UK are living with the consequences of FGM or female circumcision.
FGM is child abuse and a form of violence against women and girls, and therefore it is dealt with as part of existing child and adult safeguarding/protection structures, policies and procedures. It is illegal in the UK to subject a child to female genital mutilation (FGM) or to take a child abroad to undergo the procedure. Despite the harm it causes, FGM practising communities consider it normal to protect their cultural identity. The age at which girls are subject to FGM varies greatly from shortly after birth to any time up to adulthood. The average age is 10 to 12 years.
At St Matthew's, our staff are trained in dealing with FGM and are alerted to the following key indicators:
- A child’s family comes from a community that is known to practise FGM.
- A chid may talk about a long holiday to a country where the practice is prevalent.
- A child may confide that she is to have a ‘special procedure’ or to attend a special occasion.
- A child may request help from a teacher or another adult.
Any female child born to a woman or has a sister who has been subjected to FGM will be considered to be at risk, as much as other female children in the extended family. Any information or concern that a child is at risk of FGM will result in a child protection referral to Children’s Social Care and the new mandatory reporting duty for FGM under the Serious Crime Act 2015, requires teachers in England and Wales to report known cases of FGM to the police.
If you are worried that a child is at risk of, or has experienced FGM please talk to a member of staff or call the FGM helpline on 0800 028 3550. The helpline is free and it's anonymous but if you'd rather, they can also be contacted via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other sites that can help
Medical advice and information about FGM.
Advice and counselling for anyone affected by FGM.
Support for young people from women who have experienced FGM themselves.
Daughters of Eve
Read what the Government has to say about FGM and a quick list of places you can get help.