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#FGMletstalk and #EndFGM.
FGM is illegal in England and Wales under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003. This act was amended almost 4 years ago by the Serious Crime Act 2015 and now includes the following:
FGM is an abhorrent crime that involves the mutilation of a girl’s genitals for so-called cultural or other non-medical reasons. It is a cultural practice, not a religious requirement. It is medically unnecessary, extremely painful and has serious health consequences, both at the time when the mutilation is carried out and in later life.
- It’s now an offence to fail to protect a girl from FGM
- Victims habitually resident in the UK are now protected from FGM committed both in the UK and abroad
- Lifelong anonymity for victims of FGM
- FGM Protection Orders which can be used to protect girls at risk
- A mandatory reporting duty which requires specified professionals (including teachers and regulated health and social care professionals) to report ‘known’ cases of FGM in under 18s to the police.
Unfortunately, this crime still persists and is at its peak leading into the holiday periods, where it is sometimes referred to as the ‘cutting season’.
It is a practice that takes place worldwide in at least 28 African countries and in parts of the Middle and Far East. Recent cases in Australia and the US involve the Dawoodi Bohra (India/Pakistan). It also takes place within parts of Western Europe and other developed countries, primarily among immigrant and refugee communities.
A number of people from communities who have settled in the UK are at risk of FGM. Please click here to see details from UNICEF about where FGM is most prevalent: Female Genital Mutilation/ Cutting Country Profiles. Another good source of information is from 28 Too Many a registered charity, established by Dr Ann-Marie Wilson to undertake research and provide knowledge and tools to those working to end FGM in the countries in Africa where it is practised and across the diaspora worldwide.
For general advice contact the National FGM Centre on 0208 498 7137 or refer to their website which also offers advice on breast flattening and child abuse linked to faith and belief.
You can call the 24/7 free NSPCC FGM helpline for advice on 0800 028 3550 or email email@example.com,uk.
Communities can report anonymously any information via Crimestoppers (an independent charity). Telephone - 0800 555 111.
Notify your school’s child protection lead if you have concerns that a child is at risk of FGM or has undergone FGM.
Indicators that a girl may be at risk of FGM:
- She has a parent from an FGM affected community
- She and her family have a low level of integration into a community
- The mother or any sisters have experienced FGM
- She is withdrawn or her behaviour has changed to become withdrawn.
- She has talked about, or you know about, the arrival of a female family elder
- She talks about it to other children
- She refers to a ‘special procedure’ or ‘special occasion’ or ‘becoming a woman’
- She is out of the country for a prolonged period
- She is taking a long holiday to her country of origin or another country where the practice is prevalent (parents may talk about it too)
Indicators that a girl has experienced FGM:
- A girl has problems walking/standing/sitting
- She spends a lot of time in the bathroom/toilet
- She has bladder or menstrual problems
- She has prolonged or repeated absences from school
- She has a reluctance to undergo medical examinations
- She is asking for help but giving a lack of explicit information