To report FGM

If a person is in imminent danger of FGM call the police on 999

If a person is at risk of FGM call the Police on 101

For all other reporting call Customer First on 0808 800 4005

Advice can be accessed through the Make a Change team on 01473 263690



Click through for Home Office campaign materials (October 2018)





What is FGM?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines female genital mutilation (FGM) as all procedures that that involve partial or total removal of the genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. FGM is recognised as a violation of human rights (WHO 2017)

In the UK, it is against the law to practice FGM or to support a child going overseas to have FGM carried out. Regulated health and social care professionals have a duty to report known cases of FGM (Home Office 2016).

There is help and support for those at risk or who have experienced FGM from several organisations (NHS Choices, NSPCC, FORWARD).


     There are four different types of FGM

     Type 1: Clitoridectomy

     Type 2:  Excision

     Type 3: Infibulation

     Type 4: Other


There are no medical reasons to carry out FGM and several health implications can result following it including, difficulties in; urinating, mensuration and complications in birth. These will depend on the type of FGM experienced (National FGM Centre 2017) 

Where does FGM happen?

Cases of FGM occur across the world but the risk is greatest in communities with links to certain countries within; Africa, the Middle East and Asia (National FGM Centre 2017).

There were 6,195 individual women and girls who had an attendance where FGM was identified or a procedure related to FGM was undertaken in the period April 2017 to March 2018 (NHS 2018).

There were 4,495 newly recorded women and girls in the period April 2017 to March 2018. Newly recorded means this is the first time cases have appeared in the NHS dataset. It does not indicate how recently the FGM was undertaken, nor does it mean that this is the woman or girl's first attendance for FGM (NHS 2018).

Only 35% of individual women and girls have a known age when FGM was undertaken. (NHS 2018). Link to the full report.

Risk within Suffolk

The following figures have been rounded to the nearest 5. In Suffolk 2017/18 there were 10 reported cases related to FGM. In 2016/17 where there were 15 reported cases related to FGM. Most of the cases were reported by NHS organisations (obstetrics, gynaecology and midwifery).  There is a spread across different types of FGM (1-4). In Suffolk, there is no longer a clear picture of countries or areas associated with FGM (country of birth or origin) or age when FGM was carried out (NHS 2018).

The 2015 FGM health needs assessment estimated there were likely to be approximately 115 girls in Suffolk schools from FGM practising countries with 470 women and girls at risk or having experienced FGM (Public Health Suffolk 2015).

Safeguarding under 18s

FGM is a safeguarding issue (NSPCC 2017).

The Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB) coordinate this work at a community level.

Suffolk has a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) professionals and others with concerns about FGM. You can contact the MASH about concerns and make referrals.

Protection Orders can be made where there is judged to be sufficient risk of FGM to a child (Home Office 2016).

National and local referral pathways are in place for those who are concerned about a child who has experienced or who may be at risk of FGM.

National FGM Safeguarding Pathway

Local FGM Safeguarding Pathway for over 18s

Local FGM Safeguarding Pathway for under 18s

The NHS have developed the NHS Safeguarding App, which is a resource for healthcare professionals to increase their awareness and understanding of safeguarding requirements. Download it by clicking the links below.




Organisations, Resources and Training

Survivors Stories and Support

Some women have been brave enough to speak out about FGM, listen to Sarian’s and Khadija’s stories.

Child-line can be contacted if you or someone you know is worried about FGM.

Multi-Agency Statutory Guidance on FGM (DfE and DoHSC) updated October 2018

International Organisations

World Health Authority (WHO)

National Organisations

National FGM Centre - Run by Barnardo's

Home Office 

NHS England - FGM strategy

NHS (formerly NHS Choices) 

Royal College of Nursing  - resources for professionals work in area of FGM


Daughters of Eve

Equality Now


Local Organisations

Suffolk Refugee Support  - Hidden Harms, FGM work

The Source - FGM information for young people

iCash - Suffolk’s integrated contraception and sexual health service

Suffolk Police  - FGM specific advice

Make a Change Team – working with young people at risk of exploitation and  open to social work. Contact at MAC@suffok.gcsx.gov.uk

Resources and Training

Online resources and training can be accessed through several of the national organisations listed above. A number of these are free to download.

Face to face training is available through some national and local providers and independent trainers. The National FGM Centre (based at Barnardos) has produced an assessment tool and good practice guidance specifically for social workers.

The National FGM Centre has produced a legal fact sheet to highlight the different FGM legislation in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
This can be used by professionals and community groups working with families to help explain the law surrounding FGM. Forward UK have produced a professionals guide to recognising, intervening and discussing FGM.

Care Knowledge  summary of  FGM resources and information (October 2018). You will need a Care Knowledge account to access this.

Research paper on the case for human rights-based approaches to eradicate FGM (including  the enforcement of laws, education programs focused on empowerment, and campaigns) to recruit change agents from within communities.

Mandatory reporting, safeguarding and guidance documents

FGM Health Needs Assessment  

Acute Hospitals FGM Policies

The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust

James Paget University Hospital

West Suffolk Hospital

Guidance for Professionals

Home Office – Multiagency statutory guidance 2016

Department of Health – FGM risk and safeguarding 2016

Ipswich and East Suffolk and West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Groups – FGM guidance for professionals 2015 

Department of Health – FGM dataset requirements for NHS staff 2015

Home Office – Duty to Report summary and procedure (health, social care and teaching staff) 

Public Health: Guide for School Staff (spotting, reporting and resources)


Information in other languages

NHS Choices website can direct you to where you can get more information or leaflets in other languages

Last updated: July 2018
Next review: December 2018