Female genital mutilation (FGM)

What is female genital mutilation?

Female genital mutilation (FGM) refers to procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.  

It is sometimes referred to as female genital cutting or female circumcision. There are no health benefits to FGM.  It is recognised internationally as a human rights violation and is illegal in the UK.

The FGM Act (2003) amended section 70-75 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 states that it is an offence for any person (regardless of their nationality or residence status) to:

  • perform FGM in England and Wales (section 1 of the act)
  • assist a girl to carry out FGM on herself in England and Wales (section 2 of the act)
  • assist (from England or Wales) a non-UK person to carry out FGM outside the UK on a UK national or UK resident (section 3 of the act)

If the mutilation takes place in England or Wales, the nationality or residence status of the victim is irrelevant.

FGM protection orders

You can apply to get a protection order from the court if

  • a) you’re a victim of FGM
  • b) you or someone you know is in danger of FGM.

Under section 5A and schedule 2 of the act provision is made for FGM protection orders. An FGM protection order is a civil law measure which provides a means of protecting actual or potential victims from FGM. 

You can apply for an FGM protection order to the High Court or family court in England and Wales with the purpose of protecting a girl or woman against the commission of a genital mutilation offence or protecting a girl or woman where such an offence has been committed.

Where can you get help?

If you are in the UK and have concerns that this may happen to you or someone you know, you can speak to a teacher, doctor, school nurse, social worker, police officer or any health, educational or social care professional in confidence. They will be able to help and support you. You should use these options also if you are concerned that someone may be at risk of FGM.

You can anonymously contact the NSPCC FGM Helpline on 0800 028 3550.

If you are in the UK and concerned that you may be taken overseas for the purpose of FGM please call the police by dialling 999.

If you are abroad and need help or advice please call the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on +44 (0) 20 7008 1500

Report it

Contact us if you think that a girl or young woman is in immediate danger of FGM.  Call 999 in an emergency or 101 or report it online. 

You should also contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office if she has already been taken abroad.

More help and support

Home Office Website


The organisation FORWARD provides further information and resources


Ending FGM

28 May 21 11:50 AM

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