What Is FGM?

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) takes place both abroad and in the UK. It includes partial and total removal of female genital organs for non-medical reasons. FGM is a form of abuse as it has harmful effects upon the health and wellbeing of females throughout their life. The practice is illegal in the UK.

It is a practice that has been carried out by certain communities for many years. The UN estimates that worldwide 125 million women and girls are currently living with the consequences of FGM. A further 30 million girls are at risk of being cut in the next decade across 29 known practicing countries in Africa and the Middle East.

It has been estimated that over 20,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk of FGM in the UK each year, and that 66,000 women in the UK are living with the consequences of FGM. However, the true extent is unknown, due to the “hidden” nature of the crime. The girls may be taken to their countries of origin so that FGM can be carried out during the summer holidays, allowing them time to “heal” before they return to school. There are also worries that some girls may have FGM performed in the UK. (NHS Choices)

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