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Female genital mutilation (FGM)

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is child abuse and a form of violence against girls and women, as well as being a violation of human rights. It comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. At least 200 million girls and women have undergone some form for FGM and over 3,000 girls and women in the City of London and Hackney are living within the consequences of FGM.

FGM is practised by families and communities for a variety of complex reasons but often in the belief that it is beneficial for the girl or woman. However, it has no health benefits and cause harms to girls and women in many ways.

The age at which girls undergo FGM varies enormously according to different communities. The procedure may be carried out when a girl is newborn, during childhood or adolescence, just before marriage or during the first pregnancy. However, the majority of cases of FGM are thought to take place between the ages of 5 and 8 and therefore girls within that age bracket are at a higher risk.

City and Hackney multi-agency FGM protocol

No single agency can eradicate FGM, so there is a need for different agencies to work together to help prevent and tackle FGM, as well as to support FGM survivors. The City and Hackney multi-agency FGM protocol was developed to provide key agencies, who are likely to come into contact with girls and women, with an understanding of FGM and what actions they should take to safeguard girls and women who they believe are at risk, or who have already undergone FGM.

This protocol recognises that, for some key professionals, there is a mandatory reporting duty which requires them to report known cases of FGM in girls under 18 years old to the police. It also provides information for those staff not covered under the mandatory reporting duty, as well as explaining what to do when a case involves a woman over the age of 18 years

Tackling and preventing female genital mutilation (FGM) – City and Hackney strategy 2016-2019

Together with the City and Hackney Safeguarding Children’s Board, we have been working with key services, including those in health, children social care and the police, to develop a joint strategy and action plan to tackle FGM.

The strategy outlines how a multi-agency approach is needed to help prevent FGM from happening; improve the response of professionals to girls and women who have undergone or are at risk of FGM; and make specialist information, advice and support available.

The strategy focuses on the following 3 priorities:

  • prevention and early intervention
  • strong and effective leadership
  • effective protection and provision

If you are worried a child is at risk

Please contact our children’s social care team, tel 020 8356 5500,

You can also call the NSPCC FGM helpline: 0800 028 3550 or email

Find out more about FGM

To find out more about FGM, please visit the City of London & Hackney Safeguarding Children Board’s FGM advice page.

Page updated on: 16 July 2019