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Female Genital Mutilation

Information, advice and support for Bristol residents

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 Female Genital Mutilation Act (2003)

  • it is llegal to practice FGM in the UK;
  • it is 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;
  • it is 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.

Health and social care professionals and teachers are required to report ‘known’ cases of FGM in girls under 18 to the police.

 

Report it

Abuse and violence is not acceptable. If you or someone you know is a victim, report it and get help.

Call 999 if a crime is happening now or you're in immediate danger.

If you can’t use a voice phone, you can register with the police text service – text REGISTER to 999.  You will get a text which tells you what to do next.  Do this when it is safe so you can text when you are in danger.

If you need urgent police help through the 999 service but cannot speak call 999, you will be connected to a phone operator who will ask which service you need.

On a mobile:

  • if you can’t speak but the operator hears something suspicious, they’ll connect you to a police call handler
  • if you can make some noise, whispering for example, the operator will connect you to the police
  • if you can’t speak, and the operator can ’t tell what service you need, they’ll transfer you to the Silent Solution system. This runs a 20 second automated message, and that will ask you to press 55, to be put through to the police

On a landline phone:

  • if you cannot speak and the operator can hear only background noise, they’ll connect your call to the police

How to report it if you are not in immediate danger:

 

Advice and support

Halo Project

Supporting victims of honour based violence, forced marriage and FGM. You can call them on 01642 683 045 or email info@haloproject.org.uk.

True Honour

Supporting victims of honour based violence, forced marriage and FGM. You can call them on 07480 621711 or email contact@truehonour.org.uk.

NSPCC FGM helpline

If you need advice or information about female genital mutilation or are worried about a child at risk you can contact the NSPCC FGM helpline 24 hours a day / 7 days a week. It is free to call from a landline: 0800 028 3550.

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

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.

Open Monday- Friday 9.30am-5.30pm for information, advice and one-to-one support.

Phone: 0208 960 4000, extension 1

Mobile: 07834 168 141

Email: support@forwarduk.org.uk

Bristol Community Rose Clinic at Eastville Medical Practice

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).

Email: bristolrose.clinic@nhs.net

Tel:  07813 016 911

First Response

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 First Response, 0117 903 6444.

 

Further resources

FGM clinics in the UK - National FGM Support Clinics are community-based clinics that offer a range of support services for women with female genital mutilation (FGM).

Say no to FGM leaflet in English - leaflet containing the facts about FGM and information about how to get support

Say no to FGM leaflet in Arabic

Say no to FGM leaflet in Somali

Say no to FGM leaflet in French

FGM the facts leaflet - a leaflet produced by the Home Office containing national information about FGM.

Key Facts about FGM - information about FGM from the World Health Organisation (WHO)