If you or your family are in immediate danger, or if you have sustained physical injuries, call the police and emergency services on 999.

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 contacting one of the clinics listed under Medical Help on this page.

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.

Medical advice and treatment is confidential.

The Law

The Female Genital Mutilation Act was introduced in 2003 and came into effect in March 2004.

The Act:

  • 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.

Advice and resources

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.

If a child is at immediate risk ring the Police on 999.

If a child is at immediate risk ring the Police on 999.

NSPCC FGM helpline

If you need advice or information about female genital mutilation or are worried about a child at risk you can contact us 24/7.

FGM helpline (24 hours a day / 7 days a week, free from a landline) 0800 028 3550
(Run by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, NSPCC)

NSPCC FGM Email: fgmhelp@nspcc.org.uk
NSPCC Website: www.nspcc.org.uk
NSPCC Text helpline: 85888 (this service is free and anonymous)

First Response

0117 903 6444
www.bristol.gov.uk/firstresponse

 

Anyone can ring First Response if they are concerned about a child or young person or if they think they need support.
First Response can help in different ways including:
• Providing information, advice and guidance about services to help families.
• Making a referral to the Early Help team who can provide support to children, young people and families.
• Making a referral to a social work team.

FORWARD

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

www.forwarduk.org.uk

Medical help for FGM

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.

Medical advice and treatment is confidential. This clinic can offer medical advice for FGM problems but cannot carry out opening surgery in the clinic. You can be referred to a local hospital if you want opening surgery.

Bristol Community Rose Clinic at Lawrence Hill Health Centre

Provides support for women experiencing any health problems as a result of FGM. The clinic offers ‘opening’ surgery under local anaesthetic (awake) or can arrange for the surgery at a local hospital under general anaesthetic (asleep).

Tel: 07813 016911 (ask to speak to Dr Katrina Darke)

Email: bristolrose.clinic@nhs.net

This service is confidential and the reception staff at Lawrence Hill Health Centre cannot take bookings. Call Dr Katrina Darke or email the clinic for advice or to make an appointment.

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