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The terms FGM & FGC (Female Genital Cutting) refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non medical reasons (World Health Organisation, 2008) 

FGM is also known as cutting or female circumcision (Lockh, 2004). Other traditional and local terms are: Absum, Kutairi, Ibi/Ugwu, Khitan, Gudiniin, Bondo, Tahoor, Halalays, Sunna, Gadja, Niaka, Qodiin Kutairi/Ichana Khifad Thara.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is internationally recognised as a violation of the rights of girls and women. It constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women and reflects the deep-rooted inequality between the sexes. The practice violates a persons right to physical integrity, security, health and the right to be free from degrading treatment, torture and cruelty. It also violates the right to life when the procedure results in death (World Health Organisation). 


FGM is considered to be a form of child abuse in the UK and a violation of the rights of a child to health and integrity as well as their right to life. 

The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 makes it illegal to perform FGM on girls who are UK citizens or permanent residents, here in the UK or anywhere in the world. It is an offence to attempt to help to mutilate girls locally or internationally. The penalty is up to 14 years in prison and/or a fine.    


Similarly to domestic violence, FGM is regarded as an oppressive practice, an act of violence against women, girls and children and a violation of their human rights. Coventry Haven Women's Aid in partnership with CRASAC and Birmingham & Solihull Women's Aid, believe that women and girls have the right to live free from violence, abuse and fear.

Therefore, as a member of Womens Aid UK we are committed to gender equality and safeguarding the rights of women and girls:

  • Through partnership working we are raising awareness of FGM within practicing communities with the aim of ending the practice altogether  
  • We are devoted to offering both practical and emotional support for women, children and girls whom are victims or at risk of, genital mutilation and abuse 
  • We are committed to recruiting more Community Champions to extend our reach to all communities
  • We develop knowledge and skills of professionals in statutory and voluntary services, including schools, doctors surgeries and hospitals
  • We promote and publicise the ' Ending FGM' message
  • We work at a strategic level to ensure a good policy response 

For information on support services click here 

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