Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) occurs in the United Kingdom, even though it is considered a non-practising country. A 2014 study estimates that 137,000 women and girls, who were born in and have experienced FGM/C in FGM/C practising countries, live in England and Wales in 2011. The study goes on to say that between 1996 and 2010, 144,000 girls were born in England and Wales whose mothers came from FGM/C practising countries.
The United Kingdom outlawed FGM in 1985 with the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act, which was replaced by the Female Genital Mutilation Act in 2003. The act outlaws practising FGM/C both in the UK and extraterritorially and since 2015 protects habitual UK residents (as opposed to permanent residents). This change was made in the Serious Crime Act 2015 which also introduced a number of new protection measures, for example FGM protection orders. The United Kingdom ratified the ICESCR in 1976, CEDAW in 1986 and the CRC in 1991. The United Kingdom has signed but not ratified the Istanbul Convention. For UK case law concerning FGM/C please see our Case Law page.
Information on FGM Protection Order in the UK:
UK Lawyers experienced in FGM/C asylum cases
Mark Schwenk is a vastly experienced asylum and immigration practitioner and is recommended by Chambers and Partners. He has wide experience in dealing with FGM/C cases and has acted for many women and girls at risk of FGM/C. He has also acted for parents of girls who are at risk of FGM/C including in ‘upgrade’ appeals. Mark has dealt with cases from a number of countries where FGM/C is prevalent. However he has a particular interest in Somali cases and has been involved in country guidance on Somalia.
Laura Stacey is an asylum and immigration practitioner who is based at Coventry Law Centre. She is accredited by both the Law Society (level 2) and OISC (level 3). She is currently representing a minor at risk of FGM/C in her asylum claim and has recently attended specialist training on this topic.
Phone: 020 7701 0141
Sheila Grewal is a solicitor with over thirty-five years experience in asylum, immigration and nationality law. She was the manager of the Croydon branch of Refugee Migrant Justice (Refugee Legal Centre) until its closure in June 2010. Sheila has represented many asylum seekers resulting in successful claims based on fear of FGM/C on behalf of their daughters. Most of her clients come from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Gambia, but also from other countries.
Anti-FGM/C Organisations in the United Kingdom
28 Too Many
28 Too Many is a values based charity that seeks to eradicate FGM/C in the 28 African countries where it is still practised. The charity works at community level, mapping best practices and collecting key data across communities, countries and Africa. As well as creating vital and workable networks across education, governments, activists and health, the charity’s ultimate goal is to create a domino effect to end FGM/C in Africa and the diaspora permanently. 28 Too Many has resources and country of origin information on FGM/C in the 28 African countries in which it is practised and the diaspora, and various other resources, papers etc., see http://28toomany.org/fgm-resources/country-profiles/.
African Well Women’s Clinic
Tel: +44 207 188 6872
Email: comfort [dot] momohgstt [dot] nhs [dot] uk
FGM National Clinical Group
Tel: +44 (0)779 146 2415
Email: infofgmnationalgroup [dot] org
Conceived in 2007, the FGM National Clinical Group are a UK-based registered charity dedicated to working with women who have been affected by FGM and other related difficulties.
Completely independent and unfunded, we are committed to improving the lives of women and their daughters who are at risk of FGM via coordinated clinical networks and research.
As a multidisciplinary group of healthcare professionals, advisors and academia, we have previously hosted two thematic conferences and in 2010, launched a FGM resource film intended for specialists in the associated disciplines.
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Suite 2.1, Chandelier Building, 8 Scrubs Lane, London, NW10 6RB
Tel: +44 (0)20 8960 4000
Email: forwardforwarduk [dot] org [dot] uk
FORWARD is an organisation that has been working on FGM in the UK and Africa for 30 years. They provide training designed to share this expertise, equipping educators, health professionals and other frontline staff with the knowledge, skills and confidence to respond appropriately and effectively to both affected and at risk women and girls. FORWARD also works in the UK, Europe and Africa to safeguard girls at risk of FGM and support women affected through direct community engagement, advocacy and strategic partnerships.
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Weston House, 42 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3NH
NSPCC FGM helpline: 0800 028 3550
Email: helpnspcc [dot] org [dot] uk
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) is the leading children's charity fighting to end child abuse in the UK and Channel Islands. They help children who have been abused to rebuild their lives, protect those at risk, and find the best ways of preventing abuse from ever happening. People can call the above helpline for information, support and to report concerns they may have about a child who has had, or is at risk of having, FGM/C carried out.
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The Foundry, 17-19 Oval Way, London, SE11 5RR
Tel: +44 20 3752 5505
Email: infoorchidproject [dot] org
Orchid Project is a charity with a vision of a world free from FGM/C. They work to shape the dialogue around FGM/C and advocate for prioritisation of the issue, communicate the scale and impact of FGM/C and how it is ending and support the efforts of organisations working towards abandonment in practising countries. Orchid Project relies on fundraising and its small team networks with other charities, non-profits and organisations to create effective change.
Oxford Against Cutting
Email: oxfordagainstcuttinggmail [dot] com
Oxford Against Cutting is a rights-based group working to help prevent female genital mutilation (FGM) of girls and women living in Oxfordshire. Their mission is to raise awareness, share information and develop projects to empower young people to champion anti-FGM initiatives.
The Maya Centre, Dahlia Project
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The Maya Centre, Unit 8, 9-15 Elthorne Road, London, N19 4AJ
Tel: 0207 2781 8970
Email: Adminmayacentre [dot] org [dot] uk
Dahlia’s Project is a support group for women who have undergone FGM/C. The project aims to provide a safe space for women and girls to unpack the effects of FGM/C.