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International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Female Genital Mutilation, Public Health

To mark the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Jane Ellison visited the African Well Woman service in Ealing. She met inspirational women who bravely talked about their own experiences of FGM.

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Globally, it is estimated that at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM

Help and advice is available if  you've been affected by FGM or if you are worried about that child may be at risk of FGM, or may have had it, call the NSPCC helpline on 0800 028 3550.

Jane Ellison, Public Health Minister, said:

FGM is an abusive and illegal practice that can devastate lives and cause extreme and lifelong physical and psychological suffering to women and girls.


This Government is committed to ending FGM in a generation in the UK. We have taken bold action so that for we now know how many FGM survivors we are treating in the NHS. We are also training thousands of front line professionals to play their part caring for women and protecting girls from FGM.


The next step is to make sure that survivors are aware of and have access to the right mental health support. So we are working with professionals, campaigners and survivors to plan how to deliver and embed these services in the health system.

Background information

We are working with the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists to run a survey to understanding the knowledge and experience of existing professionals in treating women and girls affected by FGM and we are working with the DH children and adolescent mental health team to share and combine our knowledge.

We have also commissioned Health Education England to produce a brand new e-learning session for healthcare professionals dedicated to the mental health impacts of FGM and this will be available from March 2016.  HEE are also updating existing the mental health e-learning materials with specific content and signposts relating to FGM.  We are also releasing a new training video for healthcare professionals available on NHS Choices which helps professionals understand the specific mental health needs of women with FGM.

As part of the FGM Prevention Programme:

  • We have introduced data collection across the NHS, now published as an official statistic quarterly;
  • Specialist FGM safeguarding guidance was published to help health professionals protect against FGM;
  • An early adopter phase for a new national safeguarding system, linked to a child’s health record;
  • Specialist guidance was published to help health professionals commission appropriate FGM services;
  • Awareness-raising roadshows and outreach work across the country have directly reached over 4000 professionals;
  • Informative films about FGM and updated content have been published on the NHS Choices website;
  • Comprehensive e-learning on FGM, free of charge to all NHS staff has been developed by Health Education England;
  • All GPs, approximately 8,000 practices, have been sent FGM information packs containing resources to enable them to support patients living with FGM.
  • Work has commenced work with the York Health Economics Consortium to cost FGM treatment in the NHS and consider tariff implications.

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