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Spot the signs of female genital mutilation (FGM)

Signs that FGM might happen:

  • A relative or someone known as a 'cutter' visiting from abroad.
  • A special occasion or ceremony takes place where a girl 'becomes a woman' or is 'prepared for marriage'.
  • A female relative, like a mother, sister or aunt has undergone FGM.
  • A family arranges a long holiday overseas or visits a family abroad during the summer holidays.
  • A girl has an unexpected or long absence from school.
  • A girl struggles to keep up in school.
  • A girl runs away – or plans to run away - from home.

Signs that FGM may have taken place on a child include: 

  • A lengthy absence from school.
  • Having difficulty walking, sitting or standing.
  • Spending longer than normal in the bathroom or toilet.
  • Being excused from PE.
  • Health problems including bladder and menstrual issues.
  • Complaints about pain between their legs.
  • Behavioural changes, anxiety, depression, appearing quiet.
  • Talking about being taken away for a special ceremony.
  • Mentioning something that has happened to them which they are not allowed to talk about.
  • Reluctant to undergo routine medical examinations.
  • Asking for help – though they might not be explicit about the problem because they're scared or embarrassed.

If you have concerns that you or someone you know might be at risk of FGM, or already had undergone FGM, you can apply for a Female Genital Mutilation Protection Order (FGMPO).

Anyone can apply for FGMPO and you will not have to reveal your identity or pay in order to apply.

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