Female genital mutilation (FGM)

What is FGM?

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a procedure where the female genital organs are deliberately cut or injured, but where there is no medical reason for this to be done. It is very painful and dangerous and can seriously harm women and girls’ health. Some girls die from blood loss or infection as a direct result of the procedure. Women who have had FGM may have mental health conditions as a result, and are likely to have difficulty in giving birth.

FGM can be carried out on girls of all ages but may be more common between the ages of 5 and 10. It can be known as female circumcision, cutting or by other terms such as sunna, gudniin, halalays, tahur, megrez and khitan among other names.

Multi-agency statutory guidance on female genital mutilation

In 2016, the government issued multi-agency guidelines on FGM for those with statutory duties to safeguard children and vulnerable adults (the guidance was last updated in 2018). This can be downloaded here:

FGM Statutory guidance.

Other support and resources

Government advice and help is available here:


Since 2015, it has been mandatory for regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales to report known cases of FGM in under 18-year-olds to the police. Information about the mandatory reporting duty for relevant professionals including the police in relation to FGM is set out by the government here:


The London Child Protection Procedures have a chapter on FGM that includes information on rights, harm, prevalence, support, and risk indicators:


The NSPCC has a number of resources on their website and details of their helpline (as well as online support and contact information):


Everybody’s Business is a youth-led website that raises awareness about FGM: fgm-every-bodys-biz.co.uk

female genital mutilation