Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a procedure where the female genital organs are injured or changed and there is no medical reason for this.
Female Genital Mutilation
FGM is sometimes referred to as Female Circumcision or Female Genital Cutting, is defined by the World Health Organisation(WHO) as the range of procedures which involve ‘the partial or complete removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural or any other non-therapeutic reason’. It is frequently a very traumatic and violent act for the victim and can cause harm in many ways. The practice can cause severe pain and there may be immediate and/or long-term health consequences, including mental health problems, difficulties in childbirth, causing danger to the child and mother; and/or death. FGM is illegal and causes women and children significant harm.
Up to 6,500 girls are at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the UK each year. More than 125 million girls and women alive today have been cut in the 29 countries in Africa and Middle East where FGM is concentrated.
FGM has no health benefits for girls and women and immediate effects include: severe pain, shock, bleeding, infections including tetanus, HIV and hepatitis B and C, inability to urinate and damage to nearby organs including the bowel.
FGM can sometimes cause death and long-term effects include: chronic vaginal and pelvic infections, menstrual problem, persistent urine infections, kidney damage and possible failure, cysts and abscesses, pain during sex, infertility, complications during pregnancy and childbirth.
Girls and women who have been subjected to FGM also suffer serious psycho-sexual, psychological and social consequences.
FGM is illegal and it is an offence to undertake the operation, assist a girl to mutilate her own genitalia, and to assist someone to undertake female genital mutilation of a UK national outside the UK. Anyone found guilty of the offence faces a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.
Factors that may heighten a child’s risk of FGM:
- Being between the ages of 5-8, though FGM has been reported amongst babies and may also affect older children
- If someone’s mother, sister or member of the extended family has been subjected to FGM
- If someone’s family are less well integrated into the local community or in the context of poverty or disadvantage
- Coming from a community that is known to practice FGM, which tends to occur in areas with large populations of FGM practicing communities. FGM is prevalent in Africa, the Middle East and Asia
Indicators that a child is at imminent risk:
- Talking about a ‘special procedure/ceremony’ that is going to take place or a special occasion where she will ‘become a woman’
- Families from communities that practice FGM may take their daughters aboard (often to their family’s birth country) to have the procedure done
- A child is most likely to be at imminent risk where this occurs at the beginning of the long summer holiday. Professionals may become aware of this where parents are arranging for vaccinations and planning absence from school
- The school summer holidays in particular are when many young girls are taken abroad
- The arrival of an older female relative visiting from the country of origin who may perform FGM on children in the family.
Indicators that a girl or women has been subject to FGM:
- A girl may have prolonged or repeated absence from school
- A girl may have noticeable behaviour change on return (e.g. withdrawal or depression)
- A girl may have long periods away from classes (e.g. may be being absent for a long time during her period) or other normal activities (e.g. trying to get out of physical education/ sporting activities)
- A girl or woman may have difficulty walking, sitting or standing (e.g. in school a girl may find it difficult to sit still in class and look uncomfortable, unable to cross their legs when sitting on the floor)
- A girl or woman may spend longer than normal in the bathroom or toilet due to difficulties urinating.
- Bleeding, discharge, urinary infections, clutching their body
- May complain of pain between their legs
- A girl or woman may be particularly reluctant to undergo normal medical examinations.
- A girl or woman may ask for help, but may not be explicit about the problem due to embarrassment or fear
- Mentioning something somebody did to them that they are not allowed to talk about
What to do if you are worried a girl is at risk of or/has undergone FGM
If a girl (under 18) has disclosed she has undergone FGM or you have visually identified FGM, or you are concerned that she may be in immediate danger please contact the police by calling 999 and Slough Children’s Trust on 01753 875362
Further Support and Advice
Foundation for Women’s Health Research & Development (FORWARD)
Tel: 020 8960 4000
If you are abroad and require help or advice please call the Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Tel: 020 7008 1500.
0800 1111 (24 hr free helpline for children)
Local support available from Slough Integration Service – Ifrah Mohamed Tel: 07958296622
The Rose Centre, Reading – Tel: 0118 9510279 or 07903675676
Sources: National FGM Centre
Do staff receive adequate training?
All staff, volunteers and governors undertake annual training so they are aware of school protocol, policies and procedures. This means staff know what to look out for to spot and recognise signs of abuse. Listening is an important skill in order to keep children safe and staff are able to listen carefully. Regular refresher training, helps staff to keep up to date with the latest information. As a supportive community, children know to share any concerns with staff. Parents and carers are welcome to read our policy, which is available on our website or via the school office.
Does KPS share information with other professionals?
The best interests of the children will always be our priority. As such, there are times we will need to record, monitor and share information with other agencies, such as Social Care or the police. We will share concerns about our pupils with the child’s parents/carers unless we have reason to believe that such a move would not be in the child’s best interest.
What should I do if I am worried?
If you are concerned about a child’s welfare, please record your concern, and any observations or conversations heard, and report to one of the Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSL) as soon as possible the same day. Do NOT conduct your own investigation.
Who is in the Safeguarding Team?
What should I do if I am worried about a member of staff?
If your concerns relate to the actions or behaviour of a member of staff then you should report this to Pavin Dhaliwal, Headteacher.
If the concern relates to the Headteacher, concerns should be reported to Gurminder Singh or Jujhar Singh, co-chairs of the Trust.
If you are still concerned, further advice is available from:
NSPCC Helpline: 0808 800 5000
Childline: 0800 1111
Slough Emergency Team: 01753 875362
Mental Health and Wellbeing
Welcome to our new Mental Health and Wellbeing (MHWB) page. We consider the emotional health and wellbeing of our children, staff and parents to be of paramount importance. As a result, we have set up an area dedicated entirely to this worthwhile cause.
Who can I get help from?
We all have bad days, and need someone to talk to. Friends, family and teachers are great to talk to when feeling worried, stressed or even when you just want to talk to someone. At Khalsa Primary school we are committed to help and support your well-being; we as a listening ear are there for you!
Parents and Carers also play a vital role in ensuring that their child’s mental health and wellbeing needs are met. If you’re feeling sad, angry, worried and want to talk about it or just have someone listen to you without any judgment-keep us informed of any specific needs or any support required, we can help.
On this page you will find links and information covering a wide range of MHWB topics and we hope you find them to be useful.
There are many charities and organisations working in the field of mental health which could provide you with support and you can access a range of issues.