Female Genital Mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM), sometimes referred to as female circumcision, involves females, usually under the age of 16, undergoing procedures wrongly believed to ensure their chastity and marital fidelity. Health professionals are often best placed to identify women who have experienced FGM.

The procedure can range from impairment to complete removal of the labia and clitoris. This is often done without the young women's consent, anaesthetic or with regard for infection. It is estimated that every year two million women will undergo genital mutilation.

FGM occurs in parts of Africa, the Middle East, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Iraq. Many girls living in Britain will be affected as they are taken from their homes to other countries to undergo this procedure. This practice is against the law under the Female Genital Mutilation Act (2003) even if the procedure is undertaken abroad.