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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.

  • It is an offence to take someone out of the country to undergo FGM.
  • It is an offence to 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.

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. 

Police Scotland also produces a leaflet about FGM at www.scotland.police.uk.

Other help

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

  • local social work department
  • A teacher or any health professional
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 0207 008 1500 if a girl has been taken abroad 
  • FGM Aware provide resources and help
  • Amina: muslim women's helpline - 0800 801 0301
  • SHAKTI Women's Aid - 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 at FGM Aware

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