Female genital mutilation (FGM)
What is female genital mutilation (FGM)
FGM (also known as female genital cutting or circumcision) includes any procedure which involves the partial or total removal or injury to the external female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
FGM and religion
FGM is not part of any religion and the practice of FGM predates Christianity and Islam. Girls from a variety of backgrounds are affected by what is in fact a social custom.
- Neither the Bible nor the Qur’an say that FGM should be carried out
- Some people believe that it is carried out for religious reasons but this is untrue
- FGM takes place in communities across the world, including the UK
Health problems from FGM
Severe pain and shock, blood loss and even death
- Repeated urinary infections and difficulty going to the toilet
- Difficulty menstruating and infertility
- Psychological and relationship difficulties
- Problems in labour, putting mothers’ and babies’ lives at risk
These health issues can affect a woman and her family for the rest of her life.
All this can be prevented - make sure you know the signs so we can prevent FGM from taking place in the first place.
FGM and the law
All types of FGM have been illegal in the UK since 1985.
The Genital Mutilation Act 2003 makes it:
- Illegal to perform FGM in the UK
- Illegal to assist a girl to mutilate her own genitalia
- Illegal to take girls abroad for FGM whether or not it is lawful in that country
- Illegal to arrange, assist or conceal any of the above
An offence under this act has a maximum penalty of up to 14 years in prison and/or a fine.
Under Section 72 of The Serious Crime Act 2015 it is now an offence to fail to protect a girl who is at risk of FGM.
This means that if an act of FGM is committed against a girl under the age of 16, each person who is responsible for the girl at the time FGM occurred will be liable for prosecution.
The penalty is up to 7 years in prison.
All victims of FGM are also now entitled to lifelong anonymity, which means that the media are banned from printing any names or details that might identify the victim.
Remember it doesn’t matter if a woman or girl agrees to have FGM - it is against the law.
For more information about the law go to: http://ow.ly/JuN530bVHYy