Now is a good time to remind you all of your safeguarding requirements in relation to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), as the school holidays can be the time girls are most at risk.
This multi-agency campaign is aimed at educating practitioners and the general public in the signs to look out for which may indicate a child is at risk of FGM, particularly in the run-up to the school holidays, or what is known colloquially as ‘the cutting season’.
Key signs people are being asked to look out for are:
• The family belongs to a community that practises FGM
• The family are making plans to go on holiday / requested leave from training
• The child talks about a forthcoming special celebration
• If FGM has taken place within the child’s family in the past
A girl who has had FGM may:
• have difficulty walking, sitting or standing
• spend longer than normal in the bathroom or toilet
• have unusual behaviour after an absence from school or college
• be particularly reluctant to undergo normal medical examinations
• ask for help, but may not be explicit about the problem due to embarrassment or fear.
If you suspect someone may have had FGM performed on them or is about to have the procedure is it Mandatory to report you concerns. More information on Mandatory Reporting can be found below.
If you think FGM may have taken place or be about to take place you must report it immediately as you would any other form of child abuse.
1. You must inform your designated safeguarding lead.
2. In urgent cases, contact the police direct using 999 or 101.
The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 makes it illegal to practise FGM in the UK, illegal to take girls who are British Nationals or permanent residents of the UK abroad for FGM – whether or not it is lawful in that country – and illegal to aid, abet, counsel or procure the carrying out of FGM abroad.
Links and refs: