International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation
Published: Wednesday 06 Feb 2019
Wednesday 6th February is International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) includes all procedures involving the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genitals organs for non-therapeutic reasons.
All professionals need to be alert to the possibility of a girl or woman being at risk of FGM, or already having undergone FGM.
If you are worried about a girl or woman at risk of FGM, you must share this information with social work or the police. It is then their responsibility to investigate, safeguard and protect. You should not attempt to investigate a case yourself. All cases will be dealt with individually and an appropriate and proportionate response agreed.
One Chance Checklist
Fife Violence Against Women Partnership has developed the following checklist as part of their Practitioner's Guide (go to bottom of page to download)
- recognise a woman may not know she has had FGM
- be aware a survivor may choose to use other terminology to describe their experience
- be sensitive to the intimate nature of the subject
- assure confidentiality, explaining any boundaries
- use a female interpreter, ensuring they are not known to the family/community
- create an opportunity for the individual to disclose (eg. see individual privately)
- recognise that a girl/woman may be loyal to their family (particularly in view of the illegality)
- record details accurately
- be realistic about what can be done for her (eg through reversal or de-infibulation)
- check what services can do for a woman in advance of referral
- make assumptions about a woman’s feelings about having gone through FGM
- share information with anyone without consent (unless there is risk of immediate harm to her, or a child, or she lacks capacity to give consent or is unable to give informed consent)
- approach family, friends or community unless she has asked you to do so