180,000 girls and women in Europe are estimated to be at risk of FGM each year. FGM is practised within the large African diaspora communities in Europe, especially from high FGM prevalence countries in Africa. The European Commission’s Communication ‘Towards the elimination of female genital mutilation’ (2013) identifies13 EU countries where there is evidence about women and girls who have undergone female genital mutilation or who are at risk of being subjected to this harmful practice. According to the European Commission, these countries are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Awareness of FGM in Europe has grown enormously in recent years thanks to the efforts of many organisations, as well as through advertising campaigns such as the award winning “It Happens Here” campaign.
The End FGM European Network is the portal for FGM related matters in the European Union.
It is estimated that 137,000 women and girls are affected by FGM in England and Wales. Girls living or born in the UK whose families originate from FGM practising communities have a higher risk of undergoing FGM themselves. FGM is illegal in the UK including performing or helping a girl or any other individual to carry out FGM in the UK or abroad on a UK citizen or resident.
The United Kingdom have developed a substantial policy framework around FGM. These include:
- UK Government - Home Office FGM Resource Pack (July 2014)
- UK Government - Ending violence against women and girls in the UK
- UK Government - Female Genital Mutilation Multi-Agency Practice Guidelines
- British Medical Association (BMA) - Female Genital Mutilation: Caring for patients and safeguarding children (2011)
- The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) - Female Genital Mutilation Legal Guidance
- Tackling FGM in the UK - Intercollegiate recommendations for identifying, recording and reporting (2013)
- The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) - Female Genital Mutilation practice guidelines for professionals
If you need help in the UK:
- The NSPCC provide an anonymous helpline service dedicated to FGM which is available 24/7 to provide advice and support. The number is 0800 028 3550.
- If you have undergone FGM, here is a list of clinics where you can seek information and support: Specialist Clinic Services List