Our FGM Campaign

Combating Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the UK: A Call to Action


In recent years, the global issue of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has gained significant attention. While efforts in the United Kingdom to prevent and combat this harmful practice have intensified, there remains much work to be done. This blog explores the impact of FGM in the UK and outlines prevention strategies supported by data.


Understanding FGM

Female Genital Mutilation involves the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. This deeply rooted cultural practice affects millions of girls and women worldwide and is often performed without their informed consent. FGM is rooted in cultural, social, and gender norms. In the UK, FGM is illegal and recognized as a severe human rights violation, primarily affecting girls from practicing communities.

The Impact of FGM

Physical and Psychological Consequences: FGM inflicts severe physical and psychological harm. Immediate complications include intense pain, bleeding, and infection, while long-term effects can involve chronic pain, reproductive health issues, and psychological trauma.

Violation of Human Rights: FGM is a clear violation of the rights of women and girls, affecting their bodily integrity, health, and freedom from violence. It perpetuates gender inequality and discrimination.

Hidden Suffering: FGM often occurs within secretive communities, making it challenging to identify and support victims effectively.

UK Law and FGM

FGM is a crime in the UK. It is also illegal to take a British national or permanent resident abroad for FGM or to assist someone in doing so. The maximum sentence for performing or aiding FGM is 14 years in prison. The UK has taken a robust stance against FGM through several legal measures:

The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003: This act criminalizes all forms of FGM, making it illegal to perform, assist, or arrange for FGM, regardless of location.

Mandatory Reporting Duty: The Serious Crime Act 2015 requires professionals in regulated health and social care, education, and social services to report known cases of FGM in under-18s to the police.

FGM Protection Orders: Introduced in 2015, these orders allow courts to protect individuals at risk of FGM or those who have already undergone the procedure.

Multi-Agency Guidelines: The UK government has published guidelines to help agencies safeguard potential FGM victims, promoting a coordinated response to ensure victims receive necessary support and protection.

Global Commitment: The UK government has pledged significant funding and support to combat FGM globally, reflecting its commitment on the international stage.

The Risks of FGM

FGM has no health benefits and leads to immediate and long-term complications for women’s physical, mental, and sexual health. Recognized internationally as a human rights violation, FGM is an extreme form of gender discrimination, reflecting deep-rooted inequality between the sexes. Health risks include:

  • Shock, hemorrhage, and death
  • Wound infections, including tetanus, gangrene, and blood-borne viruses like HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C
  • Damage to other organs, such as the urethra and bowel
  • Chronic vaginal and pelvic infections
  • Difficulty passing urine and persistent urine infections
  • Abnormal periods with increased pain and prolonged blood flow due to reduced vaginal opening
  • Kidney impairment and possible kidney failure
  • Permanently tender scar tissue
  • Pain during sex, lack of pleasurable sensation, and related low libido
  • Damage to the reproductive system, including infertility
  • Need for later surgery to open the lower vagina for sexual intercourse and childbirth
  • Complications in pregnancy and labor, and new-born deaths
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem

Preventing FGM in the UK

Education and Awareness: Raising awareness about the dangers and illegality of FGM is crucial. This includes educating communities, healthcare professionals, and educators about the signs, risks, and legal consequences.

Engaging Communities: Building trust within practicing communities is essential. Collaborating with religious and community leaders to change perceptions and challenge cultural norms is vital.

Legal Action: The UK has taken significant legal steps to combat FGM, including criminalizing the act and strengthening the law. Prosecuting those involved sends a strong message that FGM will not be tolerated.

Support for Victims: Ensuring that victims have access to medical, psychological, and legal support is essential. Creating safe spaces for survivors to share their experiences can be empowering and healing.

Data on FGM in the UK

Accurate data is essential to effectively combat FGM. According to the latest available statistics:

  • The prevalence of FGM in the UK is difficult to measure precisely due to its hidden nature, but it is estimated that tens of thousands of girls and women in the UK are at risk.
  • Most cases of FGM in the UK are performed on girls under the age of 10.
  • The most affected communities are those originating from countries where FGM is prevalent, such as Somalia, Egypt, and Sudan.


The fight against Female Genital Mutilation in the UK is ongoing, but progress is being made through continued efforts in education, community engagement, legal action, and support for victims. Protecting the rights and well-being of girls and women is a collective responsibility, and together, we can work towards eradicating this harmful practice in the UK. Remember, FGM is a grave violation of human rights, and our commitment to ending it must remain steadfast.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it.