Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
The Female Genital Mutilation Act was introduced in 2003 and came into effect in March 2004. The Act makes it illegal to practice FGM in the UK, makes it illegal to take girls who are British nationals or permanent residents of the UK abroad for FGM whether or not it is lawful in that country, makes it illegal to aid, abet, counsel or procure the carrying out of FGM abroad and has a penalty of up to 14 years in prison and, or, a fine. In April 2016 the Government released new Multi-agency statutory guidance (updated October 2018).
Suspicions may arise in several ways that a child is being prepared for FGM to take place abroad. These include knowing that the family belongs to a community in which FGM is practised and is preparing for the child to take a holiday, arranging vaccinations or planning absence from school. The child may also talk about a 'special procedure/ceremony' that is going to take place. Girls are at particular risk of FGM during summer holidays. This is the time when families may take their children abroad for the procedure. Many girls may not be aware that they may be at risk of undergoing FGM.
FGM is an unacceptable form of abuse and violence against girls and women and the Government is committed to preventing FGM. Further information and guidance can be found on the Government website.
FGM Assessment Tool
There is also an assessment tool provided by the National FGM Centre for Social Workers to help guide the assessment of cases where FGM is a concern.
For more information visit the website: National FGM Centre