Female Genital Mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is sometimes known as ‘cutting’ or female circumcision.

It is a practice that has no health benefits, causing severe physical and psychological trauma to victims, both in the short- and long-term.

Female Genital Mutilation is a culture-specific practice, not a religious requirement or obligation.

It can be carried out at different times, from soon after birth, throughout childhood and into adulthood, being associated with credibility, status and cultural identity of the family and community.

The practice is recognised internationally as a severe violation of the human rights of girls and women.

It is illegal to perform, assist or arrange female genital mutilation in Scotland or elsewhere in the UK. Moreover, FGM that takes place abroad is punishable under UK law, if a UK national or UK resident is involved in the organisation or preparation of the procedure.

It is thought that more than 200 million girls and women have experienced FGM in the 30 countries with the highest prevalence in Africa, the Middle East and Asia (according to UNICEF).

Estimations show that the UK has more than 137,000 girls and women living with the consequences of FGM and 60,000 girls under 15 at risk, whilst the real prevalence remains unknown, due to the hidden nature of the crime (Scottish Refugee Council).

Key resources

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Scottish Government (2015) Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) statement

Year: 2015 | Topic: Female Genital Mutilation | Author: Scottish Government
Scotland’s pledge to combat FGM including a list of support services. The statement is available in English, English, Arabic, French, Swahili…
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Female genital mutilation: the facts

Year: 2015 | Topic: Female Genital Mutilation | Author: Home Office
The document raises awareness of FGM, provides details on UK legislation and measures against this abusive practice and signposts to other re…
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The Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Act 2005

Year: 2005 | Topic: Female Genital Mutilation | Author: Legislation
The 2005 Act re-enacted the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 and extended protection by making FGM a criminal offence.
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Responding to female genital mutilation: multi-agency guidance

Year: 2017 | Topic: Female Genital Mutilation | Author: Scottish Government
A framework for agencies and practitioners to develop and agree processes that promote the safety and wellbeing of women and girls.

Sara's Story

Sara's Story explains the motivations behind FGM, the impact on health and offers key suggestions for practitioners.

The film is based on real-life accounts by women survivors of FGM and is designed for use in training and public education work.

Produced in Scotland by media co-op for the Women’s Support Project with funding from the Scottish Government.