FGM is when a female's genitals are deliberately altered or removed for non-medical reasons. It's also known as 'female circumcision' or 'cutting', but has many other names.
FGM is a form of child abuse. It's dangerous and a criminal offence in the UK. We know:
- there are no medical reasons to carry out FGM
- it's often performed by someone with no medical training, using instruments such as knives, scalpels, scissors, glass or razor blades
- children are rarely given anaesthetic or antiseptic treatment and are often forcibly restrained
- it's used to control female sexuality and can cause long-lasting damage to physical and emotional health.
FGM can happen at different times in a girl or woman's life, including:
- when a baby is new-born
- during childhood or as a teenager
- just before marriage
- during pregnancy
Worried about FGM?
Call the FGM helpline if you're worried a child is at risk of, or has had, FGM.
It's free, anonymous and we're here 24/7.