Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures involving the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. FGM is also sometimes known as 'female genital cutting' or 'female circumcision'. However, circumcision is not an appropriate term. Communities tend to use local names for referring to this practice including 'sunna'.
FGM is considered child abuse in the UK and a grave violation of the human rights of girls and women. In all circumstances where FGM is practised on a child it is a violation of the child's right to life, their right to their bodily integrity, as well as their right to health.
The UK Government has signed a number of international human rights laws against FGM, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The summer holidays is a peak period for cases of forced marriage and female genital mutilation. Schools, at this time in particular, and LAs are encouraged to be alert to the signs of potential abuse.
Factsheets on female genital mutilation produced by the Government Equalities Office are available to download from this page.
Guidelines which support frontline professionals in preventing female genital mutilation are available to download.
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