How the law protects your child

Human rights

A child or young person has the right to be protected from harm. When a person is being harmed and abused they are denied their human rights. This is why there is a law against FGM in the UK.

Law in the UK and abroad

The FGM Act 2003 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (Prohibition of FGM Scotland 2005) and the amended acts 2015, make it a serious criminal offence. There is a penalty of up to 14 years in prison for any UK resident supporting or performing FGM on a girl, even if it is done abroad, and 7 years for anyone with parental responsibility who does not protect their girl from FGM.

This law protects the anonymity of any girls who have allegedly experienced FGM.

All girls who are resident in the UK are protected by this law. There are similar laws in EU countries and other countries throughout the world.

Protection order

An FGM protection order can be placed on a child to prevent her from being taken abroad to have FGM. The child's identity is protected at all times.

Our duty to protect the child

Everyone plays a part in keeping children safe from abuse. If your child is at risk of FGM you should seek help immediately by calling the police or social services. They are trained to protect her and deal with this sensitively.

Mandatory Reporting Duty

This is when a professional must make a report to the police when a girl under the age of 18 has disclosed that she has had FGM or the professional observes physical signs that FGM has happened.

The duty applies to all regulated professionals working in health, social care and education. The call would be made to the police because FGM is a crime which needs to be investigated carefully. The police will put the safety and needs of the child first and work closely with health and social care professionals.

Fact sheet on mandatory reporting of female genital mutilation