Female Genital Mutilation

Today (06.02.2020) is FGM Zero Tolerance Day – An updated FGM resource pack available for Local Authorities, Professional Services and Specialist, Voluntary organisations is available here:

Birmingham Against FGM 


Please click the link for access to the Birmingham Health FGM Risk Assessment Tool.

The national FGM centre has created a tool for social workers to help guide the assessment of cases where FGM is a concern. This tool does not replace professional judgement and only provides recommendations

FGM also known as female circumcision or cutting, is a collective term for procedures which include the partial or total removal of the external female genital organs, or injury to the female genital organs, for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons.

FGM is medically unnecessary, is extremely painful, and has serious health consequences, both at the time of the procedure, and in later life. It can also be psychologically damaging.

A number of girls die as a direct result of the procedure, from blood loss or infection. In the longer term, women who have undergone some form of FGM are twice as likely to die in childbirth, and four times more likely to give birth to a still born child.

The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (updated by Serious Crime Act 2015) makes it

  • Illegal to practice FGM in the UK;
  • Illegal to assist a girl to mutilate her own genitalia;
  •  Illegal to take girls who are habitually resident in the UK abroad for  FGM whether or not it is lawful in that country;
  • Illegal to aid, abet, counsel or procure the carrying out of FGM abroad.

An offence under this act has a maximum penalty of up to 14 years in prison and/or a fine.

The 2003 Act has been amended by the Serious Crime Act 2015, which adds new sections 3A, 4A, 5A, 5B and 5C.  These new provisions –

  • Introduce ‘mandatory reporting’ to police via telephone (call 101) - a health care professional, teacher or social care professionals must make a “FGM Notification” to the police if, in the course of their duties, they discover that an act of FGM is known or has been seen on a girl under 18.
  • Create an offence of failing to protect a girl under the age of 16 from FGM (the offence is committed by a person who has parental responsibility for her or has assumed responsibility for her care);
  • Introduce Female Genital Mutilation Protection Orders, which may include such provisions, restrictions or requirements as the court considers appropriate in order to protect a girl from FGM; or to protect a girl after FGM has been carried out; and
  • Give the victims of FGM a right of anonymity.

In addition to complying with the mandatory duty, professionals should continue to have regard to their wider safeguarding responsibilities, which require consideration and action to be taken whenever there is any identified or known risk to a child, whether in relation to FGM or another matter.

Female genital mutilation is physical abuse, and whilst it is perceived by parents not to be an act of hate, it is harmful, it is child abuse and it is unlawful. It has long lasting significant implications for those who have the procedure performed on them.

Five signs to look out for (particularly for organisations such as health and education)

  • The family belongs to a community which practices FGM.
  • The family are making plans to go on holiday / requested extended leave from school.
  • The child talks about a forthcoming special celebration.
  • The child / woman may have difficulty walking or sitting.
  • Their own mother or other siblings have had FGM.

Call police on 101 if you have information about FGM including where this is happening, who is carrying it out, or believe a child may be at risk.  In an emergency, dial 999.

Alternatively contact independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 
0800 555 111 or the NSPCC's FGM Helpline on 0800 028 3550.

Birmingham Against FGM (BAFGM)  

Birmingham Against Female Genital Mutilation seeks to lead and co-ordinate multi-agency activity to prevent the practice of FGM:

  • By improving education, awareness and prevention work on FGM with agencies professionals, community groups, faith groups and education/youth services,
  • By supporting agencies to improve the identification and protection of girls at risk to enable relevant safeguarding referrals to be made.

Practice guidance on dealing with female genital mutilation is available in the child protection procedures

If you would like further information on FGM, or if you need advice or support you can contact:

  • NSPCC FGM Helpline: 0800 028 3550 and emails sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  (a resource for both community and professionals.
  • FORWARD (Foundation for Women's Health, Research and Development) 020 8960 4000 -
  • Daughters of Eve 07983030488 -
  • The Dahlia Project 020 7281 8970
  • Birmingham and Solihull Women's Aid  0121 685 8684 and helpline number 0808 800 0028
  • African Well Woman's Service (Birmingham Heartlands Hospital) Alison Hughes 0781 7534274.  Weekly clinic Friday mornings.
  • National Multi Agency Guidelines

Home Office FGM campaign

The Home Office has launched a FGM campaign as part of their commitment to tackling this crime and protecting vulnerable women and girls.

The campaign will support their ongoing work to tackle FGM, which includes an ongoing programme of outreach by the Home Office’s FGM Unit, work with law enforcement bodies, and working with partners to help ensure the Government’s response is as effective as it can be.


The Department for Health

The Department for Health has issued all GP practices in England with the 'Female Genital Mutilation Resource Pack'.  The pack includes:

If you’ve any questions, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Reviewed: 25.10.2019

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PO Box 17340, Birmingham, B2 2DR