News story

Doctors and nurses required to report FGM to police

From 31 October, healthcare professionals must alert the police if they treat a girl under 18 who has had female genital mutilation (FGM).

FGM leaflet

To coincide with the duty coming into effect, the Department of Health has introduced a range of resources to help ensure that healthcare staff are equipped and confident to deal with cases of FGM.

Developed with the support of the NHS, the Royal Colleges and survivors of FGM, the package of support includes:

  • quick guidance for professionals, including a flow-chart that sets out what action health professionals should take
  • a poster for NHS organisations to publicise the duty to their staff
  • training slides
  • video interviews with health professionals
  • a leaflet for staff to give to patients to explain the new duty

These resources will make sure that healthcare professionals are aware of their responsibilities towards girls who come into their care that have had FGM.

Public Health Minister Jane Ellison said:

Healthcare professionals are at the forefront of the fight to end FGM and this new duty is the next step in that fight.

The tools we are providing will empower NHS staff and support them in strengthening their safeguarding response for our girls who are at risk, and better protect and care for those living with FGM.

FGM devastates lives, and this government is committed to ending this abusive and illegal practice in a generation here in the UK.

Campaigner Leyla Hussein welcomed the introduction of the resources and said:

This guidance will help health professionals better understand how to care for women and girls with FGM.

I feel assured that the NHS will support them, and this will help protect future generations of girls from harm.

Published 30 October 2015