What is FGM?
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM),sometimes referred to as cutting, female circumcision or sunna, is a painful and illegal process that involves cutting and removing a girl's external genitalia. FGM is practised in areas of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, as well as in countries where people from FGM affected communities live, including the UK. There is no medical or religious reason for FGM to take place. It is child abuse.
I think my family want me to get it
There can be a lot of pressure from families and the wider community to undergo FGM. This can often make you feel frightened and alone but you’re not alone in this. If you believe your family are arranging for you to have it done, either in the UK or abroad, you can call:
- the police on 999 or speak to an adult you trust, such as a teacher or youth worker
- the NSPCC helpline on 0800 028 3550
- Childline free on 0800 1111
- Slough children's services on 01753 875362.
If you’re going abroad and are worried about your safety, take this government statement with you. Keep this statement safe. You should carry it with you at all times – especially when you go abroad. You can show it to your family. This makes it clear that FGM is a serious criminal offence in the UK with a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison for anyone found guilty. Your parents, or whoever is caring for you, may also be guilty of an offence if they fail to protect you from FGM being carried out.
If you’re already abroad and worried about FGM you can call the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on +44 (0)20 7008 1500.