Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It’s also known as female circumcision or cutting.

FGM is often performed by someone with no medical training. They can use instruments such as a knife, scalpel, scissors, glass or razor blade.

The age at which FGM is carried out varies. It may take place:

    • When a female baby is newborn,
    • During childhood or adolescence,
    • Just before marriage,
    • During pregnancy.


There are four main types of FGM:

    1. (clitoridectomy): removing part or all of the clitoris.
    2. (excision): removing part or all of the clitoris and cutting the inner and/or outer labia.
    3. (infibulation): narrowing the vaginal opening.
    4. other harmful procedures to the female genitals including pricking, piercing, cutting, scraping or burning (NHS Choices, 2016).


Female Genital Mutilation is illegal in the UK and a human rights violation.

What is FGM?

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