FGM IS ILLEGAL
FEMALE CIRCUMCISION & CUTTING
It has been estimated that over 170,000 women and girls are living with Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the UK, and that a further 65,000 girls in the UK are at risk of the procedure. FGM is a growing cause of concern in schools.'
FGM is child abuse and a form of violence against women and girls, and therefore it is dealt with as part of existing child and adult safeguarding/protection structures, policies and procedures. It is illegal in the UK to subject a child to female genital mutilation (FGM) or to take a child abroad to undergo the procedure (Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003). Despite the harm it causes, FGM practising communities consider it normal to protect their cultural identity. The age at which girls are subject to FGM varies greatly from shortly after birth to any time up to adulthood. The average age is 5 to 8 years.
At The Federation of The Annunciation Catholic Schools, our staff are trained in dealing with suspected FGM and are alerted to the following key indicators:
- A child’s family comes from a community that is known to practise FGM
- A child may talk about a long holiday to a country where the practice is prevalent
- A child may confide that she is to have a ‘special procedure’ or to attend a special occasion
- A child may request help from a teacher or another adult
- Any female child born to a woman or has a sister who has been subjected to FGM will be considered to be at risk, as much as other female children in the extended family. Any information or concern that a child is at risk of or has undergone FGM will result in a child protection referral to Children’s Social Services.
Call the FGM helpline if you are worried a child is at risk of, or has had, FGM. It’s free, anonymous and they are available 24/7. Call them on 0800 028 3550, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org