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It has been estimated that over 170,000 women and girls are living with Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the UK, and that a further 65,000 girls in the UK are at risk of the procedure. FGM is a growing cause for concern in schools.

FGM is a form of child abuse and is considered an act of violence against women and girls, therefore it is dealt with as part of the existing child and adult safeguarding structures, and policies procedures.

It is illegal in the UK to subject a child to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) or to take a child abroad to undergo the procedure (Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003). FGM practising communities consider it normal to protect their cultural identity, despite the harm it causes to women and children.

The age at which girls are subject to FGM varies greatly from shortly after birth to any time up to adulthood. The average age is 5 to 8 years.


At the Convent of Jesus and Mary Catholic Infant School & Nursery, the staff are trained in dealing with suspected FGM and are alerted to the following key indicators:

  • A child’s family comes from a community that is known to practise FGM
  • A child may talk about a long holiday to a country where the practice is prevalent
  • A child may confide that she is to have a ‘special procedure’ or to attend a special occasion
  • A child may request help from a teacher or another adult

Any female child is at risk. All information or concerns regarding a child at risk will result in a child protection referral to Children’s Social Services.


Please call the FGM helpline if you have serious concerns about a child at risk of FGM. It’s free, anonymous and the support is available 24/7. Call 0800 028 3550, or email


Further guidance on FGM can be found here