Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

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

FGM is child abuse and a severe form of gender-based violence against women and girls.
(World Health Organisation (WHO) 2014)

FGM is illegal in the UK and carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years (Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003).

    • Type 1: Partial or total removal of the clitoris.  In rare cases the prepuce only.
    • Type 2: Partial/total removal of the clitoris & the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora.
    • Type 3: Infibulation – narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal.  The seal is formed by cutting & repositioning the labia minora and/or labia majora; with or without clitoridectomy.
    • Type 4: All other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area.
      NB: This includes cosmetic piercings/tattoos from a definition; mandatory reporting & healthcare data collection & submission perspective.

The Population

Prevalence nationally (estimated as this is a hidden issue); Research by City University for people living in England and Wales in 2011.

  • 103,000 women aged 15 – 49 and 24,000 women aged 50 and over who have migrated to England/Wales have undergone FGM.
  • Approximately 60,000 girls aged 0-14 were born in England and Wales to mothers who had undergone FGM.
  • Therefore 60,000 girls potentially at risk of FGM in England & Wales.
  • 10,000 girls (aged <15years) who have migrated to England/Wales have undergone FGM.
  • In addition there were an estimated 24,000 women aged 50 and over with FGM born in FGM practicing countries and nearly 10,000 girls aged 0-14 born in FGM practicing countries who have undergone or are likely to undergo FGM.

Prevalence is linked to the migration patterns from countries which commonly practice FGM. The “FGM global prevalence map” is available to download here.

The Burden

Risks and health needs of FGM victims and survivors can experience one or more of the following:

  • Death
  • Severe pain
  • Bleeding
  • Trauma & injury to adjacent tissues
  • Bony injuries/fractures from forcible restraint
  • Difficulty passing urine; urine infections; incontinence
  • Menstruation problems
  • Genital cysts
  • Infections -tetanus, HIV, Hepatitis B & C
  • Infertility – pelvic infections/tubal damage
  • Childbirth complications – stillbirth, neonatal death
  • Sexual/Psychological/Psycho-sexual problems.

Service Provision

All concerns should be reported using Social Care Direct on 0345 8503 503 or via email: Social_Care_Direct@wakefield.gov.uk, and existing safeguarding pathways accordingly.

Adults can access support via their GP or by the Single Point of Contact for Mental Health Services at South West Yorkshire Partnership Foundation Trust (SWYPFT)

Well Women’s Centre

NSPCC

Daughters of Eve

NHS Choices FGM

Publications

Government Statutory Guidance

A local protocol for working with children and adults in Wakefield was agreed in 2017:
Wakefield & District Safeguarding Children Board: Procedures, Protocols and Guidance