Female Genital Mutilation
FGM is a procedure where the female genital organs are injured or changed and there is no medical reason for this. 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 child abuse and if you suspect a child is at risk, you should always follow the school’s safeguarding procedures immediately. Solihull LSCP procedures for advice and information can be found here.
For secondary age pupils, statutory Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) requires schools to;
… address the physical and emotional damage caused by female genital mutilation (FGM). They should also be taught where to find support and that it is a criminal offence to perform or assist in the performance of FGM or fail to protect a person for whom you are responsible from FGM.
This builds upon work in primary schools where pupils learn that their body belongs to them, how and when to seek help and advice or support.
The National FGM Centre is a partnership between Barnardo’s and the Local Government Association (LGA). It has produced a range of educational resources that can be used in schools to educate young people, help aid conversations with parents and implement strong FGM policies. This includes new guidance for schools.
The Home Office, in conjunction with the Virtual College have produced a training module that is helpful in raising awareness with staff around the issues of FGM and their responsibilities with regard to safeguarding.
The latest Department of Health facts and figures around FGM can be found here.
The following resources may be helpful in raising awareness of this form of abuse with staff and pupils (where appropriate according to the age, needs and maturity of the child/young person).
The National FGM Centre have created a FGM Direct Work Toolkit. This Toolkit is to support professionals educate and explore views with children and parent(s)/carer(s) on FGM. The pack contains activity plans, resources and more to enable professionals to work effectively with families and children around FGM. This Toolkit has been designed to be used by social workers and family support workers with parent(s)/carer(s), children and young people.
The University of Coventry have created a web app for young people, both girls and boys living in the UK who want to find out more about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and how it might affect them and others they may know.
SRE Covered, a resource produced by Islington’s Healthy Schools team for secondary age pupils, contains a lesson and related materials on FGM. The KS3 FGM Lesson Plan – and supporting slideshow – is designed to raise awareness of FGM and inform young people of the facts and issues, and how and where to get help if they need to.
Voices Over Silence: This film raises awareness of, and fights for cultural change on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Wales by capturing young people’s voices and views on this issue to support intergenerational conversations within a range of different communities and contexts.
Freedom Charity has worked with the PSHE Association to produce a series of lesson plans to accompany the book Cut Flowers by Aneeta Prem. The book is free to download from the Freedom website. Contact the organisation via the website for resources and materials.
My body, My rules is a short film that describes what Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is, and why it is wrong. It has been designed for use with primary aged pupils. A version of the same film entitled Needlecraft for secondary aged pupils is also available.
Information from the NSPCC regarding FGM