Female Genital Mutilation

FGM is illegal in the UK and carries a prison sentence of up to 14 years

What is FGM

There are four main types of FGM:

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as procedures that include the partial or total removal of the external female genital organs for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons.

  • Type 1 – clitoridectomy – removing part or all of the clitoris.
  • Type 2 – excision – removing part or all of the clitoris and the inner labia (lips that surround the vagina), with or without removal of the labia majora (larger outer lips).
  • Type 3 – infibulation – narrowing of the vaginal opening by creating a seal, formed by cutting and repositioning the labia. Other harmful procedures to the female genitals, which include pricking, piercing, cutting, scraping and burning the area.
  • Other harmful procedures to the female genitals, which include pricking, piercing, cutting, scraping and burning the area

Is it legal?

The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 makes it illegal for FGM to be performed in the UK or anywhere in the world on UK citizens or permanent residents of any age.

If you carry out or help in carrying out FGM or if you arrange for someone to undergo FGM you face up to 14-years in prison. This means that parents or family members who help arrange FGM in any way are committing a crime.

It is also illegal to take a British national or a permanent resident abroad for FGM or to help anyone trying to do this.


The Serious Crime Act 2015 requires that the school report any cases of FGM or those who are thought to be be at riskto the relevant authorities

What are the health consequences of 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. Please visit the NHS website to read a list of short term and long term harms of FGM.

Support and services

If you are in immediate risk call 999 or 112 (from a mobile) for the Police.

Project Azure, Metropolitan Police
Reporting FGM to the police Tel: 020 7161 2888

NSPCC Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) helpline
Tel: 0800 028 3550

Mile End Hospital
Deinfibulation Clinic, Women’s & Young People’s Services
Sylvia Pankhurst Health Centre, Mile End Hospital, Bancroft Rd. London, E1 4DG
Tel: 020 7377 7898

FORWARD – FGM Specialists
Tel: 0800 028 3550

Health Passports
Statement opposing female genital mutilation and Information produced by the Home Office for those at risk of FGM. (Website)

Learn more

Female genital mutilation: guidelines to protect children and women by the Home Office and the Department of Education