Andro A, Cambois E, Lesclingand M. Long-term consequences of female genital mutilation in a European context: self perceived health of FGM women compared to non-FGM women. Soc Sci Med. 2014; 106:177-184

Anim C. This abuse must stop. Nurs Stand. 2014; 28:(49)26-27

Bagness C. Tackling FGM is everybody's business. Practice Nursing. 2015; 26:(2)74-78

Banks E, Meirik O, Farley T Female genital mutilation and obstetric outcome: WHO collaborative prospective study in six African countries. Lancet. 2006; 367:(9525)1835-1841

Braddy CM, Files JA. Female genital mutilation: cultural awareness and clinical considerations. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2007; 52:(2)158-163

Breitung B. Interpretation and eradication: national and international responses to female circumcision. Emory Int Law Rev. 1996; 10:(2)657-693

The importation of female genital mutilation to the West: the cruelest cut of all. 2010. (accessed 8 June 2019)

Clarke E. Female genital mutilation: a urology focus. Br J Nurs. 2016; 25:(18)1022-1028

Cottingham J, Kismodi E. Protecting girls and women from harmful practices affecting their health: are we making progress?. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2009; 106:(2)128-131

Department of Health, NHS England. Female genital mutilation prevention programme: requirements for NHS staff. 2014. (accessed 11 June)

Gov.UK. Female genital mutilation: help and advice. 2019. (accessed 8 June 2019)

Legislation in Europe regarding female genital mutilation and the implementation of the law in Belgium, France, Spain, Sweden and the UK. 2004. (accessed 11 June)

Lundberg PC, Gerezgiher A. Experiences from pregnancy and childbirth related to female genital mutilation among Eritrean immigrant women in Sweden. Midwifery. 2008; 24:(2)214-225

Prevalence of female genital mutilation in England and Wales: National and local estimates. 2015. (accessed 8 June 2019)

McCrae N, Mayer F. The role of nurses in tackling female genital mutilation. Int J Nurs Stud. 2014; 51:(6)829-832

Mendes A. Culture and religion in nursing: providing culturally sensitive care. Br J Nurs. 2015; 24:(8)

Momoh C. Assessing and managing FGM in the practice. Practice Nursing. 2014; 25:(11)533-535

Momoh C. Female genital mutilation.Abingdon: Radcliffe; 2005

Naughton L. FGM: a hidden crime. Community Pract. 2013; 86:(12)22-23

NHS Digital. Female genital mutilation (FGM) annual report 2016/2017 [PAS]. 2017. (accessed 8 June 2019)

NHS England. Five-year forward view. (accessed 11 June 2019)

NHS England. Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) Guidance for 2017–2019. 2016. (accessed 8 June 2019)

Nour NM. Female genital cutting: a persisting practice. Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2008; 1:(3)135-139

Nursing and Midwifery Council. The code: professional standards of practice and behaviour for nurses, midwives and nursing associates. 2018. (accessed 8 June 2019)

Nyangweso M. Female genital cutting in industrialized countries: mutilation or cultural tradition?.Santa Barbara (CA): Praeger; 2014

Onuh SO, Igberase GO, Umeora JO, Okogbenin SA, Otoide VO, Gharoro EP. Female genital mutilation: knowledge, attitude and practice among nurses. J Natl Med Assoc. 2006; 98:(3)409-14

Relph S, Inamdar R, Singh H, Yoong W. Healthcare professionals more knowledgeable about female genital mutilation but still some way to go. BMJ. 2012; 344

Royal College of Nurses. Female genital mutilation: an RCN resource for nursing and midwifery practice. 2016. (accessed 8 June 2019)

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Female genital mutilation and its management. 2015. (accessed 8 June 2019)

Rymer J, Momoh C. Managing the reality of FGM in the UK. In: Momoh C Radcliffe: Abingdon; 2005

Shell-Duncan B. From health to human rights: female genital cutting and the politics of intervention. Am Anthropol. 2008; 110:(20)225-236

Simoens S. PHP108 Public health and prevention in Europe: Is it cost-effective?. Value Health. 2011; 14:(7)A352-A353

Unicef. Harmful practices. 2016. (accessed 8 June 2019)

United Nations Population Fund. In which countries is FGM banned by law? In: Female genital mutilation (FGM) frequently asked questions. 2018. (accessed 11 June 2019)

World Health Organization. Female genital mutilation. 2017. (accessed 8 June 2019)

Zaidi N, Khalil A, Roberts C, Browne M. Knowledge of female genital mutilation among healthcare professionals. J Obstet Gynaecol. 2007; 27:(2)161-164

Female genital mutilation in the UK: considerations for best nursing practice

27 June 2019
9 min read
Volume 28 · Issue 12


Female genital mutilation (FGM) is any process that injures or removes part or all of the external female genital organs for non-medical reasons. FGM is a growing public health concern in the UK because of an increase in migration from countries where it is widely practised. Education on FGM for nurses is key to supporting women who have undergone the practice, as well as safeguarding girls and women who are at risk. Nurses must understand the history and culture of FGM as well as the long-term health complications to be able to support affected women both professionally and sensitively.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is any process that injures the female genital organs or the partial or complete removal of the external genitalia of a woman or girl for non-medical reasons, and is a violation of women's human rights (World Health Organization (WHO), 2017). Up to 200 million girls worldwide have endured FGM; 137 000 affected women and girls are living in England and Wales (Macfarlane and Dorkenoo, 2015). Because of increasing migration from countries where it is practised, FGM is an growing public health issue in the UK. The care of these women must be looked at closely by the nursing profession to enable improvement.

A study of more than 28 000 women in six African countries found FGM caused adverse obstetric outcomes including disease and death (Banks et al, 2006). Andro et al (2014) emphasise that FGM is also a growing health issue across Europe, although the practice is illegal in most European countries (United Nations Population Fund, 2018). The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (2015) reports that there are 137 000 women who have undergone FGM living in England and Wales. The number of women living in England who were born in countries where FGM is still practised is increasing, according to research from City University London (Macfarlane and Dorkenoo, 2015)). The NHS (NHS Digital, 2017) reported 9179 new cases of FGM in England in 2016 alone.

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting British Journal of Nursing and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for nurses. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to clinical or professional articles

  • Unlimited access to the latest news, blogs and video content