Female Genital Mutilation
CRASAC has trained professionals who can give help and advice along with training to any professional bodies working with girls at risk of FGM.
CRASAC has specially trained counsellors that will support and counsel women and girls who have been affected by FGM.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), also known as female circumcision is widely practiced in more than 28 African countries, parts of the Middle East, some parts of Asia and in parts of various other countries including the UK.
It is not required by any religion and is practiced by Christians, Muslims, Jews and non-believers in a wide range of communities and cultures.
The UK Law
FGM is against the law in the UK under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 and is a form of child abuse. It is a very serious crime and carries a penalty of 14 years in prison. It is also an offence to take a female child out of the UK for that purpose or to arrange it.
When FGM has occurred after January 2004 the Police will need to be informed.
What is FGM?
There are different types of female circumcision depending on the area or community that practices it.
The World Health (WHO) classifies FGM into four types:
Involves the excision of the prepuce with or without excision of part or all of the clitoris.
Excision of the prepuce and clitoris together with partial or total excision of the labia minora.
Excision of part or all of the external genitalia and stitching or narrowing of the vaginal opening, also known as infibulation. This is the most extreme form and constitutes 15 percent of all cases. It involves the use of thorns, silk or catgut to stitch the two sides of the vulva. A bridge of scar tissue then forms over the vagina, which leaves only a small opening (from the size of a matchstick head) for the passage of urine and menstrual blood.
Includes pricking, piercing or incision of the clitoris and/or the labia; stretching of the clitoris and or the labia; cauterisation or burning of the clitoris and surrounding tissues, scraping of the vaginal orifice or cutting (Gishiri cuts) of the vagina and introduction of corrosive substances or herbs into the vagina.
FGM/Circumcision is dangerous to health. Short term problems include severe pain, difficulty passing urine, bleeding, infection and death.
For some types, long term problems include difficulty passing urine and long painful periods. For type iii there may be a long scar which can make sex and childbirth difficult. Recurrent infections can lead to infertility.
Women may also feel angry, depressed and suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.
Indications a child may be at risk
- If a girl comes from a country with a high incidence of FGM
- Mother or other siblings have undergone FGM
- Child may talk about a “special Ceremony” or special event.
If a girl has undergone FGM she:
- May spend a long time in the toilet
- Be in pain
- Exhibit signs of abuse
- Be afraid to play with the other children
- Be quiet and withdrawn
Facts about FGM
- 170,000 girls and women are living with FGM in England and Wales.
- 65,000 girls and women under 15 years old are at risk of FGM in England and Wales.