Female genital mutilation (FGM) Preventing and protecting
FGM is child abuse and it is against the law.
If you suspect a child or woman has experienced FGM you must report your concerns so appropriate support and action can be taken.
If you think a child may be at risk there are steps you can take to help protect them and prevent them from experiencing FGM.
Reporting your concerns
If you think that a child may be at risk of female genital mutilation or if you suspect that FGM has already happened, even if it's not recently, you must seek help and advice.
If you think a child is at immediate risk call the police on 999.
Regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales must report ‘known’ cases of FGM in under 18s to the police (Home Office, 2016).
Find out more about the legal duty on schools in England and Wales to report cases of FGM on our legislation, guidance and policy page.
FGM protection orders
From July 2015 anyone can apply to the court for an FGM protection order if they are concerned that someone is at risk of FGM.
Breaching an FGM protection order is a criminal offence with a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment.
Find out more about FGM protection orders from the Home Office’s FGM protection orders: factsheet (PDF).
To get an FGM protection order follow the steps on the Gov.uk website.
Since July 2015,to safeguard girls from female genital mutilation
Explanation: Female Genital Mutilation Protection Orders (FGMPOs) came into effect on 17 July 2015. They are intended to safeguard girls who are at risk of FGM at home or abroad, or who have experienced FGM.
Between 17 July 2015 and the end of September 2016 there have been 97 applications and 79 FGMPOs made.
We have responded tosince June 2013. of these contacts have resulted in a
Explanation: The NSPCC launched its dedicated FGM helpline in June 2013 for anyone with concerns about FGM. People can contact the helpline by phone on 0800 028 3550 or by email.
From 24 June 2013 to 31 January 2017 we received 1,564 contacts to the NSPCC Helpline on FGM. 35% of these contacts resulted in a referral to external agencies.
Support and advice for children
Petals is a webapp for young people, created by Coventry University, to help protect young girls and women from FGM.
Working with families and children
Families who practice FGM don't think of it as abuse. Professionals need to give families advice and information that is sensitive to their culture and beliefs, but they need to make clear that FGM is illegal.
If a child has already undergone FGM she should be offered medical help and counselling. Professionals should also take action to protect any other children in the family and to investigate possible risk to others in the community.
How schools can help protect children from FGM
- Child protection policy and procedures should outline what to do in the event of a concern about FGM. The policy should be read and signed by all members of staff and reviewed and updated annually.
- A robust attendance policy can help identify patterns of absence and ensure these are picked up on and investigated. Frequent absences due to health issues can be a sign that FGM may have taken place.
- Regular staff training is important to ensure staff recognise possible signs and indicators that a girl is either at risk or has already undergone FGM.
- School assemblies and personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) lessons are a good way of raising awareness for both pupils and staff. Guest speakers can be invited in from external agencies; theatre groups can be used or films shown to engage young people.
Resources for professionals
Resources for professionals
We’ve pulled together lists of practice guidance, films, leaflets and other resources.
Petals for professionals
Coventry University have produced a webapp which explains the legal responsibilities of professionals, advice on initiating conversations and information for specific professions.
More information about FGM
Signs, symptoms and effects
Find out more about the signs, symptoms and effects of female genital mutilation (FGM).
Who is affected by FGM
Female genital mutilation (FGM) can happen at any age before getting married or having a baby. Some girls are babies when FGM is carried out.
Legislation, policy and guidance
Legislation, policy and guidance about female genital mutilation (FGM).
Facts and statistics
Facts and statistics about female genital mutilation (FGM).
What you can do
Our services are helping turn lives around. Your gift can help rebuild lives, and prevent abuse from ruining any more.
Support for professionals
Our Current Awareness Service for Practice, Policy And Research delivers free weekly email alerts to keep you up-to-date with all the latest safeguarding and child protection news.
How safe are our children? conference 2017
How safe are our children? is the NSPCC’s annual flagship conference for everyone working in child protection.
Follow us on Twitter and keep up-to-date with all the latest news in child protection.
We hold the UK's largest collection of child protection resources and the only UK database specialising in published material on child protection, child abuse and child neglect.
New in the Library
A free weekly email listing all of the new child protection publications added to our library collection.
Helping you keep children safe
Read our guide for professionals on what we do and the ways we can work with you to protect children and prevent abuse and neglect.
Impact and evidence hub
Find out how we evaluate and research the impact we’re making in protecting children, get tips and tools for researchers and access resources.
Sharing knowledge to keep children safe
Read our guide to NSPCC Knowledge and Information Services to find out how we can help you with child protection queries, support your research, and help you learn and develop.