Female Genital Mutilation featured in BBC hospital drama
Casualty to highlight FGM risk to UK children
Two episodes of Casualty (BBC 1 Saturday 6 April and Saturday 13 April) deal with the shocking subject of female genital mutilation of children in the UK.
Female Genital Mutilation is child abuse
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the term used to describe procedures that involve the removal of part or all of the external female genitalia. These procedures are also referred to as 'cutting', 'female circumcision' and 'initiation'.
It is estimated that over 20,000 girls in England and Wales are deemed at risk of female genital mutilation. FGM can be carried out at any time before a girl or young woman is married or pregnant, but most typically happens between the ages of four and 10. In some cases the girls are still babies.
Medically unnecessary and dangerous, FGM is often performed without anaesthetic and can leave victims in agony and psychologically harmed. The trauma can continue into adulthood, causing health problems, affecting their sexual relationships and damaging fertility.
In the UK, people from the following communites are most at risk of FGM:
- Bohra-Dawoodi (Pakistani and Indian)
- Sierra Leonean
Don't let sociocultural pressures get in the way of protecting children
FGM is a harmful "cultural" practice, but it is not a religious one. Carrying out this practice has been a criminal offence in the UK since 1985. However, there has not been a single prosecution to date.
As with other forms of child abuse, these crimes often remain hidden and unreported, as children are too ashamed or afraid to speak out.
If you are worried a child may be a victim, or at risk of female genital mutilation don't wait until you're certain, contact the NSPCC immediately. You can call our helpline on 0800 800 5000, text on 88858 or use our Helpline online form.
Information about protecting minority ethnic children
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