Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Keep up to date with current RCPCH activity in relation to FGM, including changes to guidance, policy and legislation.

About FGM

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a collective term for a range of procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

FGM, and taking a child abroad for the purpose of FGM, is child abuse. It is illegal in the UK and is a violation of human rights. 

News  - Mandatory reporting duty to commence 31 October 2015

The duty will require regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales to report ‘known’ (visually identified or verbally disclosed) cases of FGM in under 18s to the police. The duty will not apply in relation to at risk or suspected cases, or in cases where the woman is over 18. In these cases, professionals should follow existing local safeguarding procedures.

The Home Office has published information for professionals and the police on the new duty.

The Department of Health, in partnership with the RCPCH and others, have also released a quick guide for professionals, and additional materials for staff and patients:

  • Quick guidance (PDF) – a 2-page summary of the duty including a process flowchart
  • Poster (PDF) – for health organisations to display about the duty
  • Training presentation slides (PDF) – to help organisations deliver 10 – 15 minute updates to staff to explain the duty
  • Video interview - with Vanessa Lodge, NHS E National FGM Prevention lead
  • Information leaflet (PDF) - for patients and their families, which professionals can use to help when discussing making a report to the police

See GOV.UK website for all written materials

In December 2014, the Home Office ran a consultation on mandatory reporting for FGM - download the College response (PDF, 399KB, 7 pages). 

Key documents

Educational resources


Our full CPD accredited e-learning supports clinicians to understand FGM. It is hosted on Compass, our online classroom, and is free to access. Watch the first video in the series:

Health Education England

HEE e-Learning for Healthcare's e-learning helps support and recognise the victims of FGM. It is provided free to all healthcare professionals, including school nurses, practice nurses, health visitors and GPs. Access the e-FGM educational programme.

NHS Choices

This video helps support professionals when talking to women about FGM.

Department of Health FGM Prevention Programme

This programme was launched at the Girl Summit in July 2014 in partnership with NHS England. Work on a number of FGM projects is now underway across NHS settings to improve the health response to FGM. The RCPCH is one of various stakeholders who support the Department of Health in this work.

Safeguarding women and girls at risk of FGM - this document provides practical help to support NHS organisations developing new safeguarding policies and procedures for FGM.

Other resources

FGM Enhanced Dataset

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) is collecting data on FGM within England on behalf of the Department of Health and NHS England to support the FGM Prevention Programme. In April 2015 the FGM Enhanced Dataset was launched. This dataset contains some patient identifiable demographic data, and is extending the collection to include mental health trusts and GP practices.  

The following organisations have to meet the requirements of the FGM Enhanced dataset standard from 1 October 2015:

  • General Practice
  • Mental Health Trusts
  • Acute Trusts (mandatory since 1 July 2015)

HSCIC have prepared a FAQs document to explain the process for data collection.

The Department of Health in partnership with the HSCIC have also produced additional joint guidance to support implementation of the dataset.

Statistics from the FGM Enhanced Dataset have been published by the HSCIC.

FGM Risk Indication System

The Department of Health have introduced a system that allows a clinican to record on a child's healthcare record when it is identified she is potentially at risk of FGM at some point in her childhood/lifetime.

This information will be accessible to all healthcare professionals treating her throughout her childhood, higlighting that they need to consider the potential risk of FGM as and when they provide care, and what safeguarding discussions they should have or actions they might need to take.

The system will be available via the NHS Summary Care Record application.  Early adopter sites are now using this system, and we are learning from them before launching a national implementation in ealry 2016.  Further information can be found at on the HSCIC website.