Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

 

In March 2004, the new UK Female Genital Mutilation Act was introduced. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is prohibited by law in England, Scotland and Wales, whether it is committed against a United Kingdom national or permanent United Kingdom resident in the UK or abroad. FGM is an abuse of the human rights of girls and women and therefore a child protection issue.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It has no health benefits and harms girls and women in many ways. It involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and hence interferes with the natural function of girls’ and women’s bodies. The practice causes severe pain and has several immediate and long-term health consequences, including difficulties in childbirth also causing dangers to the child.

  • FGM is illegal in the UK
  • FGM is prevalent in 28 African countries as well as in parts of the Middle East and Asia
  • FGM is practised by families for a variety of complex reasons but often in the belief that it is beneficial for the girl or woman
  • FGM constitutes a form of child abuse and violence against women and girls, and has severe short-term and long-term physical and psychological consequences
  • There are estimated to be 3,480 females living in Croydon who have been affected by FGM at some point in their lives. This is equivalent to 1 in 104 people. 180 of these women are estimated to be aged under 16; 2,250 16-49 years old and 1,050 aged over 50
  • It is estimated that 180 births per year in Croydon are to women affected by FGM

 

What to do if you suspect someone is at risk

If you suspect that any girl is at risk of being subjected to any form of FGM, take action to report it immediately!!  Time counts so please act as soon as you suspect that a girl may be at risk of FGM, the instructions below tell you what to do.

To protect a girl from FGM you can take any of the following actions:

  • Ring your local Social Services Department – your Town Hall will have the number
  • Ring your local Police Child Protection Unit
  • Ring the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 or email to: help@nspcc.org.uk. Visit: for further details.

 

AYDA's support

If you have personal experience of, or know of anyone who has undergone FGM, AYDA can provide support, advice and information about accessing specialist health care and counselling for girls and women affected by FGM.

  • AYDA run support group sessions by sensitive female staff that have an understanding of FGM and what women have undergone.
  • AYDA provides support and safe space for girls and women to talk about their experiences.
  • AYDA educates and works with families to prevent FGM happening to any other girls in the family.
  • AYDA provides access and support for girls and women needing specialist health services who are affected by FGM.

Do not let labels of ‘tradition’, ‘culture’, ‘religion’ or a fear of being called a ‘racist’ stop you from taking action to protect girls at risk of FGM, it is a violation of human rights!

 

Useful resources

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