Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Female Genital Mutilation sometimes referred to as FGM or female circumcision, is when a girl's genitals are altered or removed. It can cause long-lasting damage as well as ongoing emotional distress, pain and shock.

It can also cause problems later on. You may experience difficulties in childbirth, or the body part may need to be cut again. Blood loss and infections can cause death in some cases. FGM can also cause emotional distress at the time and in the future, and it might lead to anxiety and depression as well as:

  • Bleeding
  • Infections such as tetanus, HIV and hepatitis B and C
  • Organ damage
About FGM 

The operation is usually done by someone who doesn’t have any medical training. Girls aren't given any anaesthetic, antiseptic treatment and are often forced to keep still.

The cutting is made using tools such as a knife, pair of scissors, scalpel, glass or razor blade.

FGM can be extremely painful and dangerous.

What to do if you are worried about FGM? 

You might be feeling pressured to have FGM, especially if other people in your family have been cut. This can make you feel alone or scared but there are people who can help. If you are in immediate danger call the police on 999, or you could speak to a teacher or adult you trust. The police are there to keep you safe.

Worried to speak up? 

You might be feeling pressured to have FGM, especially if other people in your family have been cut. This can make you feel alone or scared but there are people who can help. If you are in immediate danger call the police on 999, or you could speak to a teacher or adult you trust. The police are there to keep you safe.

If you are going abroad

If you are going abroad you can carry a statement opposing FGM with you (You can download this from the Downloads and Resources). You can show it to your family so they know FGM is a serious criminal offence.

How to get help if you’ve had FGM 

Being cut is often a very upsetting and distressing experience. It’s important to remember that it’s not your fault and you don’t need to suffer alone. You can talk to Childline on 0800 1111 or the NSPCC FGM Helpline on 0800 028 3550. If you feel pain or unwell, it’s important to get medical help, you can contact the NHS helpline on 111 if you are unsure what to do. In an emergency you should ring 999 or visit your local hospital.

Female Genital Mutilation