Definition of Female Genital Mutilation

 

Female genital mutilation (sometimes referred to as female circumcision) refers to procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The practice is illegal in the UK.

 An estimated 137,000 women in the UK are affected by female genital mutilation (FGM). However, the true extent is unknown, due to the "hidden" nature of the crime.

  

What are our Aims?

  

Our primary aim is to safeguard any girl at risk of Female Genital Mutilation.

  

Facts and Myths about FGM

 

  The following table highlights factual and mythical information about Female Genital Mutilation.

  

Facts

Myths

Female genital mutilation is the deliberate cutting of a girl's external genitals (private parts).

There are lots of health benefits to having female genital mutilation.

 

In many countries it is carried out by women who have no medical training, using unsterilized knives, blades or sharpened stones, without anaesthetic (pain relief).

Girls need to have female genital mutilation to have babies.

 

Female genital mutilation is nearly always carried out on children, commonly between four and twelve years of age.

I can’t do anything to stop FGM.

 

Girls are in danger of dying from blood loss or infection during and after the procedure.

Female genital mutilation is not a crime in the UK

Female genital mutilation is a form of child abuse.

 

  

Effects of Female Genital Mutilation

 

 There are no health benefits to FGM. Removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue interferes with the natural functions of girls' and women's bodies.

 

Immediate effects

 

•Severe pain, shock, bleeding.

 •Wound infections, including tetanus and gangrene, as well as blood-borne    viruses such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

 •Inability to urinate.

 •Damage to other organs nearby, such as the urethra (where urine passes) and the bowel.

 

FGM can sometimes cause death.

 

  

What do I do if I have any concerns?

 

 Several organisations work with communities across Africa to end female genital mutilation.  You can get more information, support and advice about female genital mutilation in the UK from:

 

 NSPCC

 Childline  

 Daughters of Eve

 Healthy Schools London

 Foreign and Commonwealth Office 

 NHS 

 

 

 

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