Female Genital Mutilation
What is it
FGM is the mutilation of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It is also sometimes known as female circumcision or ‘sunna’.FGM is carried out for cultural, religious and social reasons within families and communities.
Where does it happen
FGM is prevalent in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
In the UK, FGM tends to occur in areas with larger populations of communities who practise FGM, such as first-generation immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
The law and FGM
FGM is a serious criminal offence in the UK with a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison for anyone found guilty of the offence.
Even if someone is taken overseas for the mutilation, it is still a crime in the UK if the mutilation is done by a UK national or permanent UK resident. It is also a crime if a UK national or permanent resident assists or gets a non-UK national or permanent resident to carry out the acts overseas on a UK national or permanent resident
Help and support
Surgery can be performed to open up the lower vagina. This is sometimes called "reversal", although it cannot restore sensitive tissue that has been removed.
Benefits of ‘reversal’:
- More hygienic
- Sex may be less painful
- Periods may be less painful
- Less chance of recurrent urinary infection
- May increase the likelihood of conception
- May make future births much easier and less risky