Female Genital Mutilation
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a general term for a number of procedures carried out on girls or young women. It is also known as female genital cutting (FGC) and female circumcision. The procedures intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons. There are no health benefits for the girls either at the time or later in life.
FGM is mostly carried out on girls some time between infancy and when they reach 15 years of age. The procedures themselves can cause severe bleeding, infections and problems urinating. Subsequently, they can make sex extremely painful and cause psychological problems. Complications in childbirth and newborn deaths are common amongst women who have experienced FGM.
While FGM is internationally recognised as a violation of the human rights of girls and women and is a criminal offence in the UK, it still continues today. If you have had an FGM procedure, you should not be ashamed. An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM.
If you feel you might be at risk of FGM or if you suspect sombody else is at risk or has been subjected to FGM you can contact:
- you local social services department (your local council will have the number)
- ring your local police child protection unit.
- ring the NSPCC 0808 800 5000 or 0800 1111 if you are a child at risk
- contact FORWARD on 0208 960 4000 Monday to Friday from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm - a specialist organisation providing support, counselling and a safe place for girls and women to tak about their experience. Forward can also provide access and support for girls and women affected by FGM needing specialist health services.
If you need information, counselling or support of any kind to help you with problems caused by female genital mutilation, please contact us.