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Female Genital Mutilation: Screening toolkit

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) describes the cutting, pricking, evisceration, elongating or any way of mutilating the genitals of women and girls. FGM is specifically seen as a means of controlling sexual behaviour in women and girls in communities where honour and honour-based culture is related to the maintenance of virginity before marriage.

FGM is a criminal offence in the UK and has been since the Female Circumcision Act 1985.

This was updated in 2003 with the Female Genital Mutilation Act, which in turn was amended to include extra protection for victims and additional responsibility for professionals by the Serious Crime Act 2015.

There is no basis in religion, culture or practice to support FGM. It is a breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights, the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child.

At the Girl Summit 2014, the government pledged to eradicate FGM here and elsewhere in the world ‘within a generation’.

FGM is not confined to discreet parts of the world and it is very much happening in the United Kingdom.