How to spot the signs and indicators of someone at risk of FGM

How to spot the signs and indicators of someone at risk of FGM

Posted on Mar 29, 2016

How to spot the signs and indicators of someone at risk of FGM



FGM (short for Female Genital Mutilation) describes certain procedures that involve injury. A procedure that has absolutely no medical benefit is carried out using crude devices and no anaesthetic, by someone who is not medically qualified.

It is happening across the UK on girls as young as four.

Who is at risk of FGM?

The NSPCC have suggested that up to 25,000 girls under fifteen are at risk of FGM in the UK.

Parents’ motives for carrying out FGM are born out of centuries of tradition and culture. Most believe that they are helping their daughters to be cleansed and do not realise that what they are doing is harmful and illegal.

There is a lot of secrecy around the procedure and for obvious reasons, it isn’t always easy to detect, so it is important to both know the possible signs and be confident in what actions to take should you suspect.


Possible warning signs

Possible warning signs that FGM might be about to take place are:


  • Mention of a female relative coming to visit
  • A girl asking for help from a teacher or another adult if she feels at risk of danger
  • A girl becoming easily distressed, fearful or anxious
  • Referencing FGM (or it’s other alternative names)
  • A child taking about a special procedure/ceremony that is going to take place
  • The family making preparations to take the girl abroad ‘on holiday’ e.g. arranging vaccinations or requesting a prolonged absence from school


Action to take should you suspect someone is at risk of FGM

It is important that you incorporate FGM within your safeguarding policies. This way, if any member of staff suspected someone at risk– they will have the correct information to help them.


NSPCC FGM Helpline:

T: 0800 028 3550


Metropolitan Police Project Azure (FGM)

T: 0207 161 2888.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office:

T: 0207 008 1500



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