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Female genital mutilation

This advice applies to Scotland

Find out where you can get help if you or someone you know is at risk of female genital mutilation.

What is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), often known as female cutting or circumcision, is a practice where part, or all, of a female’s genitals are forcibly removed. The procedure has many harmful physical and psychological effects and is a form of child abuse and violence against women and girls.

The law and FGM

Female Genital Mutilation is a crime in Scotland under the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Act 2005 and it is an offence to:

  • take someone out of the country to undergo FGM
  • help someone commit FGM on a British national or UK resident, even if this is done outside the UK.

The maximum penalty for FGM in Scotland is 14 years imprisonment.

Getting help

NSPCC - FGM helpline

The NSPCC provides a free, anonymous, 24 hour helpline that you can contact if you are at risk, or are concerned about someone else being at risk, of FGM. The NSPCC telephone number is 0800 028 3550 and their dedicated email address is fgmhelp@nspcc.org.uk. Find more information on the NSPCC website.

Contacting the police

If you or someone you know is at risk of female genital mutilation, you can contact the police on 999 if it is an emergency situation.

Police Scotland has officers with special responsibility for FGM and they are available to provide information in non-emergency situations, by contacting 101. 

There is a leaflet available about FGM on the Police Scotland website.

Other help

You can also report concerns about FGM and get help and support from:

  • your local social work department
  • a teacher or any health professional
  • the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 0207 008 1500 if a girl has been taken abroad 
  • FGM Aware who provide resources and help
  • Amina: The Muslim Women's Resource Centre helpline on 0800 801 0301
  • SHAKTI Women's Aid on 0131 475 2399.

Scottish Government information on FGM

More information on FGM can be found on the mygov.scot website.

The Scottish Government has published a Statement which makes it clear that FGM is a serious criminal offence in Scotland and throughout the UK.

You can keep a copy of this statement with you to show family and friends, especially when you go abroad. The statement has been translated into other languages.

The Statement is also available on the FGM Aware website

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