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Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

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.

It has been estimated that over 20,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the UK each year, and that 66,000 women in the UK are living with the consequences of FGM. However, the true extent is unknown due to the 'hidden' nature of the crime.

FGM is usually carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15, most commonly before puberty starts. Different languages use different terminology for FGM.

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 include severe pain, shock, wound infections, injury to tissues and organs.

FGM can sometimes cause death. Long-term consequences include chronic vaginal and pelvic infections, kidney impairment and possible kidney failure, complications in pregnancy and new-born deaths and psychological damage.

FGM is illegal in the UK. It is also illegal to arrange for a child to be taken abroad for FGM. If caught, offenders face a large fine and a prison sentence of up to 14 years.

Seven Minute Briefing on FGM

What you can do

If you are worried about someone who is at risk of FGM or has had FGM, you must share this information with Rochdale Social Services or the police.

  • If you are concerned about a child, please call 0300 303 0350.
  • If you are concerned about an adult at risk, please call 0300 303 8886
  • Out of office hours please contact 0300 303 8875
  • If you feel the person is in immediate danger please contact the police on 999

If you are a health or social care professional who may come into contact with girls and women at risk of FGM, you can read the Greater Manchester Safeguarding Children Procedures Manual

For information on reporting suspected or confirmed FGM follow the Rochdale Pathway.

The Guardian Project

The Guardian Project - NESTAC is a new and innovative pilot across Greater Manchester to coordinate care and support for girls and young women affected by or at risk of Female Genital Mutilation.

The project provides FREE services across Greater Manchester and is available five days a week.

Multi-Agency Statutory Guidance on FGM (Updated July 2020)

FGM Information Sheet

FGM Briefing and Links

Communities Tackling FGM - Best Practice Guide

FGM Home Office training

Order form for Home Office resources

Our Daughters Film 


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