Mandatory Reporting of FGM
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is illegal in England and Wales under the FGM Act 2003 (“the 2003 Act”). It is a form of child abuse and violence against women. FGM comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons.
From 31st October 2015 the act introduces a mandatory reporting duty which requires health, social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales to report ‘known’ cases of FGM in under 18s which they identify in the course of their professional work to the police.
‘Known’ cases are those where either a girl informs the person that an act of FGM – however described – has been carried out on her, or where the person observes physical signs on a girl appearing to show that an act of FGM has been carried out and the person has no reason to believe that the act was, or was part of, a surgical operation.
Complying with the duty does not breach any confidentiality requirement or other restriction on disclosure which might otherwise apply.
The duty is a personal duty which requires the individual professional who becomes aware of the case to make a report; the responsibility cannot be transferred. The only exception to this is if you know that another individual from your profession has already made a report; there is no requirement to make a second.
The duty does not apply in relation to at risk or suspected cases or in cases where the woman is over 18. In these cases, you should follow the NSCB’s local safeguarding procedures which can be found in the procedures manual.
To further increase your awareness and knowledge on FGM you can take the free NSCB elearning course by registering and taking the ‘Recognising and Preventing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)’
Last updated: 06 March 2019