What is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?

Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female circumcision or female genital cutting, is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as “all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons”.

The procedure is traditionally carried out by an older woman with no medical training. Anaesthetics and antiseptic treatment are not generally used and the practice is usually carried out using basic tools such as knives, scissors, scalpels, pieces of glass and razor blades. Often iodine or a mixture of herbs is placed on the wound to tighten the vagina and stop the bleeding.

Worried about FGM?

Call the NSPCC FGM helpline if you’re worried a child is at risk of, or has had, FGM. It’s free, anonymous and open 24 hours a day 0800 028 3550.

Want to talk?

Women and girls

0808 801 0456*

Mon & Fri 11am – 2pm,
Tue, Wed and Thu 6pm – 8:30pm

Men and boys

0808 801 0464*

Mon & Fri 11am – 2pm,
Tue 6pm – 8:30pm

What to expect when you call

*Self-defined gender identity. Trans and non-binary callers welcome.

Want to talk?

Women and girls

0808 801 0456*

Mon & Fri 11am – 2pm,
Tue, Wed and Thu 6pm – 8:30pm

Men and boys

0808 801 0464*

Mon & Fri 11am – 2pm,
Tue 6pm – 8:30pm

What to expect when you call

*Self-defined gender identity. Trans and non-binary callers welcome.

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