Practitioners and professionals

What is Female Genital Mutilation?


Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a collective term for procedures, which include the removal of part or all of the external female genitalia for non-medical purposes, for example, pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons.

FGM has been a criminal offence in the UK since the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 was passed. The female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 replaced the 1985 Act and makes it an offence for the first time for UK nationals or permanent UK residents to carry out FGM abroad, or to aid, abet, counsel or procure the carrying out of FGM abroad, even in countries where the practice is legal. 

As of 31st October 2015 there is a mandatory duty on regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales to make a report to the Police where, in the course of their professional duties, they either:

  1. Are informed by a girl under 18 that an act of FGM has been carried out on her; or
  2. Observe physical signs which appear to show that an act of FGM has been carried out on a girl under 18 and they have no reason to believe that the act was necessary for the girl's physical or mental health, or for purposes connected with labour or birth.

Failure to do so may lead to prosecution of the professional.


Information and Guidance Documents


FGM Training


The government also offer the following free online training courses in FGM.