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Female Genital Mutilations UK Law

The United Kingdom introduced its most recent ban on female genital mutilation in 1985. This page explains how the victims, or those at risk, can get help and support with FGM.

FGM UK LAW: Female genital mutilation is an illegal activity in the United Kingdom. The country outlaws all grievous bodily harm.

It is often abbreviated to FGM. But, some people refer to it as ‘female genital cutting’ or a form of ‘female circumcision’.

UK FGM law is very strict. Besides being illegal to perform female genital mutilation, it is also against the law to:

  • Take a British national or a permanent resident abroad for FGM purposes.
  • Help another person who is trying to take someone overseas for FGM.
  • Fail to protect a girl from FGM if you are responsible for them.

Note: Carrying out FGM, or helping it to take place, can result in a prison sentence of fourteen (14) years.

Immediate Danger of Female Genital Mutilation

If you, or anyone else that you know, are in immediate danger of FGM you should contact the police emergency phone number. If you know of any British national taken overseas for FGM activities you should also contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Telephone: 020 7008 1500
From overseas: 020 7930 4832
List of national phone call charges.

You can contact the nearest British embassy, commission, or consulate if you are already overseas. The GOV.UK website has the full list of worldwide organisations.

How to Get Help for Someone at Risk of FGM

The NSPCC is the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. They welcome anonymous contact from young people who are in danger. Contact the NSPCC if you have concerns that a girl or a young woman is either at risk or is a victim of FGM.

NSPCC FGM Helpline
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 0800 028 3550
From overseas: +44 (0)800 028 3550

FGM Organisations in the United Kingdom

You can contact your GP if you feel pressured to have FGM performed on yourself or on your daughter. Help and advice about female genital mutilation is also available from several specialist organisations, including:

  • Daughters of Eve: A non profit organisation working to protect girls and young women who are at risk from female genital mutilation.
  • Foundation for Women’s Health Research and Development: FORWARD is committed to gender equality and safeguarding the rights of African girls and women.

Note: The National Health Service in England has specialist clinics that can help people with worries about FGM female circumcision. Contact FGM Aware if you are living in Scotland.

Help from the Local Council

The Safeguarding Children Board is part of the council authority in most areas around the United Kingdom. You can contact your local council for further information.

Facts about Female Genital Mutilation

  • FGM is a procedure that ‘deliberately’ cuts or injures the female genitals. Some medical changes to genital areas are necessary for health reasons. But, there is no medical reason to perform female genital mutilation.
  • Other common names for FGM include ‘cutting’ or ‘female circumcision’. Less common terms in Britain include gudniin, halalays, khitan, megrez, sunna, and tahur.
  • The act of female genital mutilation usually takes place before puberty begins. In most cases, it gets carried out between infancy and the age of fifteen. FGM is child abuse and illegal in the United Kingdom.
  • Beside being very painful for a girls and young women, it can be a severe harm to health. It is not uncommon for FGM to cause long-term problems with childbirth, mental health, and sexual activities.

Note: You can apply to get a female genital mutilation protection order from the court. The court action can keep you or someone you know safe from FGM.

Female Genital Mutilations Law in the United Kingdom