The Word Health Organization defines Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as “all procedures that involve the partial or complete removal of the external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical purposes”. FGM is also referred to as ‘female genital cutting’ or ‘female circumcision’.
This practice is not limited to communities from African countries, and is also practised in communities from Middle East and South East Asian countries. Genital alteration for cosmetic reasons is considered a form of mutilation.
A Department of Health Report (2014) highlighted Reading as one of 11 hotspots for prevalence of FGM practices in the UK. FGM is illegal in the UK, but it is believed there are over 170,000 women and girls living with FGM, an estimated 60,000 girls under 15 are at risk, and an estimated 137,000 girls and women are living with the consequences of FGM in the UK. Worldwide, over 140 million women and girls have undergone FGM
Facts about FGM:
- FGM is practised on women and girls worldwide, including in the UK
- FGM is child abuse
- FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women, and considered as culturally based violence against them.
- FGM can result in physical, mental, and psycho-social difficulties of survivors
- FGM can affect pregnancy and childbirth
- FGM can kill
Serious Crimes Act 2015 – Mandatory Reporting of FGM came into effect – 31 October 2015