Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is practised in more than 28 African countries and other regions of the world, including parts of Asia and the Middle East. Many refugees in the UK are from some of these countries.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), also known as female circumcision, as ‘procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural, religious or other non-therapeutic reasons’.
There are four main types of FGM:
The Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985, makes it a criminal offence in the UK for anyone to perform, aid, abet, or counsel to procure FGM. The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 and the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Act 2005 also makes it illegal to take a child out of the country for the purposes of performing FGM. Further information about the 2003 Act is given on the website of the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF). FGM is also banned in many other countries. The World Health Organisation has condemned the practice of FGM.
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