Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female circumcision or female genital cutting, is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as "all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.”
Female genital mutilation is classified into four major types outlined in (see Appendix One). The practice is mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers, who often play other central roles in communities, for example, attending childbirths. Procedures are mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and aged 15, and occasionally on adult women.
Below is a link to a short video produced by the Home Office as part of their “protect our girls” campaign which was launched in October 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkDuzLA8T9w
FGM has been illegal in the UK since 1985. In 2003, the Female Genital Mutilation Act tightened this law to criminalise FGM being carried out on UK citizens overseas. Anyone found guilty of the offence faces a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison; but prosecutors had until recently struggled to secure any convictions.
This year saw the first successful prosecution for FGM in the UK. This landmark case has highlighted the need to continue the conversation and take a zero tolerance approach to the practice in order to safeguard and protect women and girls.