FGM - FemAle genital mutilation
West Acton Primary School has robust and rigorous safeguarding procedures and practices and takes its
responsibilities of child protection seriously.
Female Genital Mutilation is illegal and is a form of child abuse and as such, is dealt with under the schools
Safeguarding Policy. At West Acton, the Headteachers and Governors expect Safeguarding to be everybody’s
responsibility and expect all staff to adhere to and follow these policies.
World Health Organisation definition of FGM:
“Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) comprises of all procedures involving partial or total removal of the
external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural or non-therapeutic
reasons.” (World Health Organisation-1997)
West Acton Primary School participated in an FGM project in 2019 -2020 that will
educated and supported all relevant members of our school community, this will be run in conjunction with
the local Health Improvement Team. Over 20 parents also attended.
FGM is illegal in the UK.
The UK Government has written advice and guidance on FGM that states:
- “FGM is considered child abuse in the UK and a grave violation of the human rights of girls and women.
In all circumstances where FGM is practised on a child it is a violation of the child’s right to life, their right
to their bodily integrity, as well as their right to health. The UK Government has signed a number of
international human rights laws against FGM, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- “Girls are at particular risk of FGM during school summer holidays. This is the time when families may
take their children abroad for the procedure. Many girls may not be aware that they may be at risk of
- “UK communities that are most at risk of FGM include Kenyans, Somalis, Sudanese, Sierra Leoneans,
Egyptians, Nigerians and Eritreans. However women from non-African communities who are at risk of
FGM include Yemeni, Kurdish, Indonesian and Pakistani women.”
From 31 October 2015 onwards, regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England and
Wales have a mandatory requirement to report visually confirmed or verbally disclosed cases of FGM in girls
under 18 to the police.
In light of this information West Acton Primary School has decided to take proactive action to protect and prevent
our girls being forced to undertake FGM. The Headteachers and Governors do this in 4 ways:
1. A robust Attendance Policy that does not authorise holidays, extended or otherwise, unless in exceptional
circumstances and with evidence of reason where possible.
2. FGM training for all staff during the FGM project and Safeguarding.
3. FGM discussions by Safeguarding team with parents of children from practising communities who
are at risk.
4. Comprehensive PSHE and Relationship and Health Education delivered to children which a discussion about
FGM in an appropriate way and at the appropriate age.
In order to protect our children it is important that key information is known by all of the school community.
Indications that FGM has taken place:
- Difficulty walking, sitting or standing.
- Prolonged absences from school.
- Spending long periods away from the classroom/office with urinary or menstrual problems.
- Reluctant to undergo medical examinations.
- Noticeable changes in behaviour – FGM can result in post-traumaticstress.
- Soreness, infection or unusual presentation when using the toilet.
- Asking for help but not being explicit about the problem due to embarrassment or fear.
Indications that a child is at risk of FGM:
- The family comes from a community known to practice FGM - especially if there are elderly women
- In conversation a child may talk about FGM.
- Parents seeking to withdraw their children from learning about FGM.
- A child may express anxiety or excitement about a special ceremony.
- The child may talk or have anxieties about forthcoming holidays to their country of origin.
- Parent/Guardian requests permission for authorised absence for overseas travel or you are aware that
absence is required for vaccinations.
- If a woman has already undergone FGM – and it comes to the attention of any professional, consideration needs
to be given to any Child Protection implications e.g. for younger siblings, extended family members and a referral
made to Social Care or the Police.
It is a practice which takes place worldwide in at least 30 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. It also takes place within parts of Western Europe and other developed countries, primarily among immigrant and refugee communities.
FGM has been classified by the World Health Organization into 4 types; these are described in more detail on the World Health Organization website.
FGM is a complex issue - despite the harm it causes, some women and men from affected communities consider it to be normal to protect their daughters and their cultural identity.
Some people believe that FGM is a way to ensure virginity and chastity. It is sometimes done to preserve girls from sex outside of marriage and from having sexual feelings. FGM is often claimed to be carried out in accordance with religious beliefs, but it is not supported by any religious doctrine.
Further guidance can be found here: http://nationalfgmcentre.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/FGM-Schools-Guidance-National-FGM-Centre.pdf