Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the partial or total removal of external female genitalia for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons. It is medically unnecessary, extremely painful and has serious health consequences both at the time when it is carried out and in later life.
The UK Government is committed to eradicating FGM. The Female Genital Mutilation Act was introduced in 2003 and came into effect in March 2004. The act makes it illegal to practise FGM in the UK. It is an offence to take girls who are British nationals or permanent residents of the UK to another country for FGM regardless of its legality in that country. In addition it is illegal to aid, abet, counsel or procure its practice abroad.
Our objective 2012 was to play a central role in the UK Government’s approach to tackling FGM, working with the Home Office, the Department of Health and the Department for Education. During the summer, we played an active part in the UK Government’s crackdown on FGM during the summer holiday period. We also trained consular staff in East Africa to highlight the issues and to ensure that staff were able to respond to possible cases of FGM.
In 2013, we will continue to work with other leading government departments to eradicate FGM.