This page is for information and guidance on managing concerns related to female genital mutilation (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). There are no medical reasons to carry out FGM, several health implications can result following it including, difficulties in; urinating, menstruation and complications in birth (National FGM Centre 2017). Some women have been brave enough to speak out about FGM, listen to Sarian’s and Khadija’s stories.
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 are four different types of FGM
Type 1: Clitoridectomy
Type 2: Excision
Type 3: Infibulation
Type 4: Other
As part of a piece of work on hidden harms Suffolk Refugee Support and students from the University of Suffolk's games design course have produced an online interactive resource available in English, Polish, Kurdish and Arabic to provide information about hidden harms including FGM that also checks back on users understanding.
This map contains information about the prevalence rates for various countries across the world including local information (National FGM Centre 2019).
Information about prevalence in the UK can be accessed by the current NHS dataset found here. Most of the cases are reported via NHS organisations (obstetrics, gynaecology and midwifery).
Suffolk annual statistics reported 2018/19 reported between 8-12 FGM related attendances, with between 3-7 new cases (NHS Digital July 2019). The previous reporting period noted 12 cases. In Suffolk, there is no longer a clear picture of countries, areas or ages associated with FGM (NHS 2019). Prevalence of FGM remains below national levels. In 2015 Public Health Suffolk reported on FGM. This Health Needs Assessment informed work in this area.
In Suffolk the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB) coordinates this work. The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) addresses concerns about abuse including FGM. If you would like to discuss a situation/safe guarding referral, please contact the MASH Consultation Line on 0345 606 1499.
An FGM Protection Order (FGMPO) is a legal document issued by the family courts. FGMPO’s intend to protect girls and women who are risk of the procedure of FGM. You do not have to pay to apply for the order or reveal your identity. A person at risk of FGM, the local authority or anybody the court gives permission to, such as police or teachers, can apply for a FGMPO.
Suffolk Police FGM specific advice
Make a Change Team, working with young people at risk of exploitation. Contact at MAC@suffok.gcsx.gov.uk
The Source information for young people
iCash Suffolk’s integrated contraception and sexual health service
Suffolk Refugee Support working with at risk groups
Bal Kaur Howard Training local training provider
Barnardos assessment tool and good practice guidance specifically for social workers.
National FGM Centre legal fact sheet to highlight the different FGM legislation in the UK.
Care Knowledge summary of FGM resources and information. Account access required.
NHS Safeguarding App for healthcare professionals . Download by clicking the links below.
Acute Hospitals FGM Policies
Guidance for Professionals