Female genital mutilation (FGM) - resources

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.

Key documents

HM Government - Multi-agency practice guidelines: Female Genital Mutilation 2014 - This guidance should be read and followed by all persons and bodies in England and Wales under statutory duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and vulnerable adults.

HM Government - Health Passport (statement opposing FGM) - This can be given to girls and families to help them when explaining the illegality and complications of FGM to wider family and community members, both when they are abroad and in the UK.

Department of Health and Social Care - Female Genital Mutilation Risk and Safeguarding Guidance for professionals - Practical help to support NHS organisations developing new safeguarding policies and procedures for FGM.

Department of Health and Social Care - Commissioning services to support women and girls with FGM - This document sets out what a successful and safe service to support women and girls with FGM might look like.

FGM enhanced dataset from Health and Social Care Information Centre

HSCIC collects data on FGM in England on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care 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 as of 1 October 2015:

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


Joint guidance to support implementation

Statistics from the dataset

BPSU study - FGM in children and young people under the age of 16 in the UK and ROI

This surveillance study started in November 2015. The study team is identifying the number of children who are diagnosed with FGM in the UK and Republic of Ireland each year and collect information about FGM, how it presents in children and is treated.

Mandatory reporting in England and Wales

In October 2015 a mandatory duty was introduced requiring 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 does 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 and Social Care, 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

Information leaflet (PDF) - for patients and their families, which professionals can use to help when discussing making a report to the police

In December 2014, the Home Office ran a consultation on mandatory reporting for FGM. View the RCPCH Health Policy response.