Female Genital Mutilation or 'cutting'
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), also called female circumcision or ‘cutting’, is when a girl's external genitals (private parts) are cut away.
This is a form of child abuse common to some African, Asian and Middle Eastern communities in the UK. Victims are usually aged between four and ten, but some are babies and some are older girls. Girls are often taken abroad by a family member in order to be mutilated. Or sometimes, the family arrange for someone from abroad to come to their home in the UK to carry out the mutilation.
FGM has harmful effects on the health and wellbeing of girls immediately after the injuries and carry on as the girl grows up into a woman. Many women who have suffered FGM have had to live with physical and emotional suffering for the rest of their lives. There are no health benefits to FGM. FGM contravenes human rights and the rights of women and children.
Why do some people think FGM is a normal thing for girls?
Complex cultural and social reasons are often given about why FGM is carried out. But it is wrong, it shouldn't be happening and it is illegal in the UK.
The police can protect you if you think you are at risk of being cut (FGM).
What you should do if you're worried for yourself or someone else
If you are worried this might happen to you or a girl you know, you should talk to someone that can help to protect you or whoever is in danger. You could:
- Speak to a teacher, a social worker or other professionals.
- Call Childine on 0800 1111 - this is a special free number that will not show up on the phone bill
- Call the FGM help line 0800 028 3550 - it's run by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) or e-mail them on firstname.lastname@example.org
- Find out more about FGM on the ChildLine website.
A free FGM web app has been developed to help you understand more about FGM you can access this Web App here to find information, a quiz and more about FGM.
A local group called Northamptonshire Sunflower can also support you, visit their website for more details.
Last updated: 07 October 2016