The guidance provides information on identifying when a girl (including an unborn girl) or young woman 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 already been subjected to FGM and how to record this information and respond appropriately to support them.



Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a deeply rooted tradition, widely practiced by specific ethnic populations, predominantly 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 (WHO) 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.

FGM is known by a number of names, including female genital cutting, circumcision or initiation (see Appendix B for traditional and local 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. The Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Offices (FCO) have nationally agreed this term as including cultural justifications for violence and abuse.


Policy Details

Download: PDF version
Compiled by: Sarah-Jane Legg, Named Midwife for Safeguarding and Vulnerable Women
Ratified by: Safeguarding Committee (Chairs Action)
Date Ratified: June 2020
Date Issued: June 2020
Review Date: June 2023
Target Audience: All staff
Contact name: Sarah-Jane Legg, Named Midwife for Safeguarding and Vulnerable Women


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