Purpose

All staff can influence women not to subject their daughters to genital mutilation, by emphasising the risks to health and the difficulties in childbirth. The guidance provides information on identifying when a girl (including an unborn girl) or young women may be at risk of being subjected to FGM and responding appropriately to protect them. Help to recognise when a girl or young woman has been subjected to FGM and how to respond appropriately to support them. Inform on the correct recording procedures on FGM.

 

Background

FGM is a deeply rooted tradition, widely practiced mainly around specific ethnic populations in Africa and parts of the Middle East and Asia which serves as a complex form of social control of women’s sexual and reproductive rights .The World Health Organisation estimates that between 100 - 140 million girls and women worldwide have experienced FGM and around 3 million girls undergo some form of the procedure each year in Africa alone.

Female Genital Mutilation is known by a number of names, including Female Genital Cutting, Circumcision or Initiation (refer to Appendix E for terms used for FGM in different languages). FGM is defined as all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs, whether for ritual, cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons.

The procedure may be carried out when the girl is newborn, during childhood or adolescence, at marriage or during the first pregnancy, however the majority are thought to take place between the ages of 5-8 and therefore girls within that age bracket are at a higher risk.

FGM is a form of child abuse and violence against women and girls and is recognised as a form of “Honour Based Abuse” as the Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Offices (FCO) have nationally agreed the term ‘Honour Based Abuse’ is a recognised term describing cultural justifications for violence and abuse.

The Home Office and FCO definition of Honour Based Abuse notes: “A crime or incident, which has or may have been committed, to protect or defend the Honour of the family and or community.”

 

Policy Details

Download: PDF version
Compiled by: Sarah-Jane Legg, Named Midwife for Safeguarding and Vulnerable Women
Ratified by: Women’s Health Governance Group
Date Ratified: July 2016
Date Issued: March 2019
Review Date: July 2019
Target Audience: All staff
Contact name: Sarah-Jane Legg, Named Midwife for Safeguarding and Vulnerable Women