This site is intended for health professionals only

FGM tackled through new government initiative

Healthcare workers will be given additional training on how to identify girls at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM). 

Compulsory training about the practice will be given to doctors and nurses, as well as other public sector workers such as teachers and social workers. 

FGM refers to the “partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons”. 

About 125 million women around the world are estimated to be living with the consequences of FGM, and three million women and girls are at risk each year. 

FGM is practiced in 29 countries in Africa and some countries in Asia and the Middle East. 

It is commonly carried out on young girls, between infancy and the age of 15. 

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will reveal a new suite of measures against the practice at the Girls Summit being hosted by the government and the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef). 

He will say: “Without the right knowledge, skills and experience, people feel like they don't have the cultural understanding and authority to talk about his practice honestly, never mind intervene when they're worried someone is vulnerable. 

“Female genital mutilation is one of the oldest and the most extreme ways in which societies have sought to control the lives and bodies of generations of young women and girls.” 

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "Controlling the lives and bodies of young women and girls through FGM has no place in modern Britain.

"The RCN has worked with the government on the development of training and guidance to help equip frontline staff with the skills they need to tackle this most sensitive of issues."