FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) is an illegal practice which causes both physical and psychological harm. It is a form of child abuse and must not be excused, accepted or condoned. Within some cultures it remains a deeply embedded practice and we all have a role to play in helping to eradicate it. Below are some of the signs and symptoms that should be looked out for.
Signs of FGM
- Mention of going to have a ‘special procedure’
- Unexplained absence from school
- Not taking part in PE, swimming lessons or PHSE
- Refusing to undergo a medical examination
- Mood changes, anger or changes in personality
- Pain when peeing and frequent/longer trips to the toilet
How you can help
Learning to identify the signs of FGM and helping to raise awareness by getting involved in campaigns such as The Pink Protest (#ENDFGM) are both ways in which you can help. The Home Office have also developed a free online safeguarding training course which you can find here. Although it is targeted at professionals (e.g. those in healthcare, police officers, and schoolteachers) it is still useful for anyone interested in gaining more knowledge on the issue and for learning more about identifying the signs of those at risk and how to link up with services to provide support.
Information and support for FGM
The Metropolitan Police Service provides a dedicated service for girls at risk of FGM. Call their Child Abuse Investigation service on 0207 161 2888.
If you are under 18 and need to talk about an FGM experience in confidence you can call 0800 1111
Confidential helpline to call and talk through any issues that are effecting you. Free to call 24/7 116 123
If you are in pain or unwell there are specialist clinics around the UK for medical support for women/girls who have undergone FGM. Call 0800 028 3550
You can also call 111 (non-emergency number) for guidance on what to do.
Daughters of Eve
An NFP organisation supporting survivors of FGM.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Contact if you are worried that someone has been taken abroad for the purpose of FGM.