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Working together to prevent female genital mutilation

02 November 2015
Volume 23 · Issue 11


Elinor Clarke RM, Chair of the FGM National Clinical Group, discusses the importance of collaboration in the elimination of female genital mutilation.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a form of abuse against women and girls (HM Government, 2014). The UN Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNICEF, 1989: 8) states that: ‘Parties shall take all effective and appropriate measures with a view to abolishing traditional practices prejudicial to the health of children.’ FGM is often carried out on babies and girls and is a violation of the rights of the child. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (2015)Code requires that nurses and midwives work cooperatively, and safeguarding policy and procedures identify that working together is the cornerstone of child protection. This article will identify how collaborative working is fundamental to the ending of the practice of FGM.

FGM (also called female genital cutting) refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons (World Health Organization (WHO), 2008) and, until recently, the nature and extent of this cultural practice had not been widely discussed or quantified in the UK. The FGM National Clinical Group (FGMNCG) was set up in 2007 with the intention of bringing greater attention to FGM, with the goal of ending the practice. The FGMNCG is a registered charity and comprises medical and health-care practitioners who voluntarily work to raise issues regarding FGM in the UK. In my capacity as Chair of the FGMNCG, I have raised awareness of FGM and contributed to the Department of Health (DH) and Health Education England working groups on elimination of FGM.

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