Female Genital Mutilation
of young girls is child abuse.
What is FGM?
Female Genital Mutilation, or FGM,
procedures where part or
all of the external female genitalia
are removed for non-medical reasons.
Other terms include female
cutting, Gudnin, Tahur.
It's a practice
that occurs in specific populations.
It can be
performed at any stage
of a woman's life,
from infancy right up until adulthood.
between about the ages
of five and eight.
a major infringement
of women's human rights.
FGM violates human rights conventions
protect women and children
from cruelty and violence.
FGM is illegal.
FGM is against the law in the
and has been so since 1985.
If someone is found guilty
of carrying out FGM in the
arranging for a girl
to go abroad for FGM,
face a maximum prison sentence
of 14 years
and a substantial fine if found guilty.
Who is at risk of FGM?
There are increasing numbers of
from FGM-practising communities
There are two really separate
and important issues here.
Firstly, identifying women
that have undergone FGM
so that we
can offer them
appropriate health care.
is the really important issue
of young girls being at risk of FGM.
We know that the single most
fact that puts a girl at risk of FGM
is to be
born into a community
that practises FGM.
What that means is that it's really
important for NHS staff,
doctors, midwives and nurses,
to be aware of this,
but also for the general public,
who may be working
with children, such as teachers.
The most likely time that a young
is taken aboard for FGM
the long school summer holiday.
important that if there is
any suspicion that that might happen
that the right people are informed.
Things that might lead you
to suspect that
would be if
the child says she is
going home for something special,
after which she may be grown-up.
Then you can ring the police.
You can ring your local social services.
What are the consequences of FGM?
The short-term effects of FGM, if
imagine these procedures are done,
in general, not by medical personnel.
done under unsterile
and unsanitary conditions.
done without any anaesthetic
or analgesia on a small child.
The immediate consequences are
obviously damage to the genital organs,
the genital organs,
damage to surrounding organs.
can lead to haemorrhage
and to infection.
The other effects
which are more difficult to measure
clear that there are
great psychological effects
the trauma of such a procedure.
to women that have undergone this.
we realise that
it would cause psychosexual problems.
If you have your clitoris removed,
so you have no sensation
vagina is narrow
and sex is painful,
are also common.
Global efforts to stop FGM
Because the instruments are not
you also have an increased risk
such as hepatitis B and HIV.
Girls and women are
left with urinary
problems, such as incontinence,
or recurrent urinary tract infections.
It increases the risk of infertility.
If you do manage to become pregnant,
you have an increased risk
of haemorrhage during childbirth.
also an increased risk
that the baby may die during labour
or shortly after birth.
What happens during pregnancy?
If a woman is pregnant and has had FGM,
an assessment of the vagina
whether the vagina is too narrow
for her to give birth naturally.
And if the vagina is too narrow,
will require a procedure
called a deinfibulation procedure.
It is illegal to reinfibulate a
who has had FGM following the birth.
called a reversal of
FGM. It's not a true reversal.
You can't put back the tissue,
opens the vagina
to make delivery of the baby easier.
What help and support is available?
There are specialist clinics
that see women who have had FGM.
that women have information
on how to access those services.
For more information about FGM
and where to go for advice or help,
please visit www.nhs.uk/fgm
If you are worried that someone else
may be at risk of, or affected by FGM,
Child Protection Helpline
on 0808 800 5000.
If you have been affected by FGM,
worried that you may be at risk
Child Abuse Investigation Command
Project Azure helpline on 0207 161 2888.
FGM information, help and support
0808 800 5000
Metropolitan Police Project Azure
helpline 020 7161 2888
Female Genital Mutilation of young
is child abuse.