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Is FGM Illegal?

Is FGM Illegal?

Yes, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is illegal and can result in up to 14 years imprisonment.

Practising FGM in the UK has been a criminal offence since 1985. The laws relevant to FGM include:

It sets the maximum penalty for FGM offences to 14 years' imprisonment.

This law applies to England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Scotland has its own FGM legislation.

The Serious Crime Act 2015 (External link) introduced additional duties and offences relating to FGM. These include:

  • introduction of mandatory reporting of FGM. This duty is due to be introduced in Autumn 2015
  • introduction of FGM Protection Orders. These were introduced on 17 July 2015
  • lifelong anonymity of victims of FGM
  • introduction of tighter criminal law so that those with parental responsibility for a child under 16 can be prosecuted if they do not take reasonable steps to prevent the child being subjected to FGM where they knew, or ought to have known, that there was a significant risk of FGM being carried out.

Other laws which protect women and children and enforce Human Rights may also be relevant.

If you have experienced – or are worried that you are at risk of FGM, then you can call: NSPCC FGM helpline on:

0800 028 3550

(Lines are 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and are free)


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Live Fear Free is a Welsh Government website, providing information and advice for those suffering with violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence.

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