Zero Tolerance for FGM

Today we attended events in Edinburgh to mark the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

The term FGM, or ‘cutting’ as it is sometimes known, refers to a range of procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to female genital organs where there is no medical need.

The events, organised by the Edinburgh Child Protection Committee, Bright Choices and NHS Lothian, brought together health, social care and third sector staff to discuss the response to FGM in Scotland and to learn more about new local guidelines for Lothian.

There are an estimated 24,000 people living in Scotland who were born in countries known to practice FGM, although the number directly affected is unknown.

At Waverley Care, FGM has emerged as an issue through engagement with our African Health Project. Through our MY Voice FGM research project, we are engaging with affected communities, and educating and empowering women and men to challenge the continued justification of FGM.

Attitudes towards FGM are strongly linked to culture and, where it is practiced, it is often justified as a necessary part of raising young women, closely tied to sexuality, morality and modesty.  However, the practice is illegal in Scotland and considered to be a particularly extreme form of child abuse and violence against women.

International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM is a focus for action to work towards a UN goal to eliminate the practice by 2030.

You can find out more about our work on FGM and the MYVoice project here.