Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

"FGM constitutes all procedures which involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons" (WHO, 1996)There are 4 different types of FGM.

  • Females can be subjected to FGM at any age from small babies to adulthood
  • It is usually carried out by a ‘cutter’, which generally is an older woman in the community
  • It is most often carried out without anaesthetic, with non-sterilised, non-medical instruments such as knives, stones and glass
  • The ‘procedure’ is generally done without warning and the female is held down by several women.

Whilst the damage is physical, there is also psychological damage including depression, anxiety, and sexual dysfunction. Women can be unaware that they have had FGM if it was carried out when they were very young. In this video, women talk about their personal experiences of FGM.

Further resources

FGM: The Facts leaflet

FGM Risk and Safeguarding Guidance for professionals