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Female genital mutilation
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.
Female genital mutilation is a crime in Scotland. It is an offence under the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Act 2005 to take someone out of the country to undergo FGM. It is also 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.
If you or someone you know is at risk of FGM, you can get help from the free, confidential, 24 hour FGM helpline run by the NSPCC.
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 telephone number is 0800 028 3550. There is also a dedicated email address which is firstname.lastname@example.org. More information can be found on the NSPCC website at www.nspcc.org.uk.
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.
You can also report concerns about FGM and get help and support from the:
- local social work department
- Reporter to the Children's Panel - www.scra.gov.uk
- Women’s Support Group - www.fgmaware.org
- Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 0207 008 1500 if a girls has been taken abroad
- Amina: muslim women's helpline - 0800 801 0301
- SHAKTI Women's Aid - 0131 475 2399.
Scottish Government statement opposing Female Genital Mutilation
The Scottish Government has published a statement opposing female genital mutilation, which is available on its website at www.gov.scot .
The statement makes it clear that FGM is a serious criminal offence in Scotland and throughout the UK. You can keep a copy of this with you to show family and friends, especially when you go abroad.
The statement has been translated into other languages and these are available on the FGM aware website at www.fgmaware.org.