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Female Genital Mutilation

What is FGM?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines FGM as ‘all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons’.  Globally the practice is mostly carried out by traditional “circumcisers”, who often play other central roles in communities, such as attending childbirths.  However, more than 18% of all FGM is performed by health care providers, and this trend is increasing.  FGM is recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.  It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women.  It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children.  The practice also violates a person's rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.

The Law in Scotland

FGM has been unlawful in Scotland since 1985.  The Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Act 2005 re-enacted the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 and extended protection by making it a criminal offence to have FGM carried out either in Scotland or abroad by giving those offences extra-territorial powers.  The Act also increased the penalty on conviction on indictment from 5 to 14 years' imprisonment.

Statement from Scottish Government

The Scottish Government has released a statement on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).  It has been translated into various languages and can be downloaded below:-


  ROSHNI Confidential Support - FGM


In collaboration with the Scottish Government, the Women's Support Project has developed a range of information materials on FGM. These materials include:

  • a Scottish DVD (Sara's Story) outlining the law, child protection, prevention work in communities and services for women and girls who have experienced FGM;
  • information leaflets for practitioners highlighting key points, good practice, resources and services, and a standardised training package and risk assessment tool; and
  • an FGM statement that sets out the law in relation to FGM in Scotland. The purpose of this statement is to allow a person who may be at risk to show it to family friends and or relatives when travelling abroad to remind them that FGM is a serious offence in Scotland and the UK and that there are severe penalties (up to 14 years in prison) for anyone found guilty of the offence.

The DVD and other materials can be accessed at Female Genital Mutilation Aware - Resources


A new quarterly newsletter for FGM Awareness has been produced and can be viewed below:-

FGM Aware - Newsletter 1 - July 2016

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