Female Genital Mutilation
Are you worried that a child may be at risk of Female Genital Mutilation? Are you a child worried about FGM? Signs that FGM may be planned include plans for a long holiday with a special celebration about becoming a woman, and your family may talk of ‘pinching your bottom’.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is also known as female circumcision or female genital cutting. FGM has no health benefits, and it harms girls and women in many ways. It involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and interferes with the natural functions of girls’ and women’s bodies.
FGM 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”.
Get medical help with the complications caused by FGM
FGM has no health benefits for girls and women and procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth.
Women and girls who are experiencing complications from FGM can get medical help either through the doctor’s surgery where they are registered or by visiting the African Women’s Clinic at Charlotte Keel Health Centre which is held once a month.
The clinic offers advice and assistance on the complications caused by FGM, and can refer women (who are not pregnant) to St Michael’s Hospital for “opening” surgery.
If you are pregnant
If you are pregnant and have had FGM or been circumcised, it’s important that you register with a midwife as soon as you know you are pregnant. You can find a midwife through your local clinic.
Bristol midwives have experience of supporting all women and will understand the issues for FGM. Your midwife can refer you to any specialist services you may need including “opening” surgery.
African Women’s Clinic
Charlotte Keel Health Centre, Seymour Road, Easton, BS5 0UA. Drop in to the clinic or make an appointment by telephoning 0117 342 69 00 (English language only)
Medical advice and treatment is confidential and will not put you or your family at risk of prosecution.
The Female Genital Mutilation Act was introduced in 2003 and came into effect in March 2004.
- Makes it illegal to practice FGM in the UK;
- Makes it illegal to take girls who are British nationals or permanent residents of the UK abroad for FGM whether or not it is lawful in that country;
- Makes it illegal to aid, abet, counsel or procure the carrying out of FGM abroad;
- Has a penalty of up to 14 years in prison and/or a fine.
If this is happening to you, there are things you can do to help keep yourself safe. Click here to find out how.
Scroll to the bottom of this page for extra resources and information.
There are people who can help
If you suspect that a child may be at risk of Female Genital Mutilation, either in this country or abroad, or that it has been carried out then it is important that you report these concerns to one of the following organisations.
If you have experienced FGM it is not your fault and there are local and national services that can provide support.
Contact one of the Bristol Social Work Assessment Teams based at the Area Social Work offices below. If a child is at immediate risk ring the Police on 999.
If a child is at immediate risk ring the Police on 999.
East and Central Bristol
Welsman, Princes Street, St Pauls, Bristol BS2 9JA
0117 903 6500
South - Broadwalk (Knowle)
Broadwalk, Knowle, BS4 2QY
0117 903 1414
Ridingleaze, Lawrence Weston, BS11 0QE
0117 903 8769
South - Symes House (Hartcliffe)
Symes House, Hartcliffe, BS13 0EE
0117 353 2200
If these offices are closed call the Emergency Duty Team
Call the NSPCC or go to their online message board where you can share your worries or ask questions about abuse, bullying, self harming, feeling low, family, school and friends.
NSPCC 24 hour Helpline:
0800 800 5000 (free from a landline)
NSPCC Text helpline:
85888 (this service is free and anonymous)
FORWARD, The Foundation for Women's Health Research and Development provides support and campaigns to safeguard the sexual and reproductive health and rights of African girls and women.
0208 960 4000
The women in my family have been cut in the past. I am very worried this will happen to me. I spoke to my teacher about my concerns and she explained that there are people who can help and protect me. A social worker came and spoke to me and then to my family. By talking about this, my parents are educated about the law and they can understand my fears and protect me.
10 year old girl