UK Law

Female genital mutilation became illegal in the UK in 1985 under the Female Genital Mutilation Act. This was later replaced by the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 to extend the legislation to include anyone taking a girl or woman outside of the UK to perform FGM.

The UK Legislation States:

“A person is guilty of an offence if he excises, infibulates or otherwise mutilates the whole or any part of a girl’s labia majora,
labia minora or clitoris.”

“A person is guilty of an offence if he aids, abets, counsels or procures a girl to excise, infibulate or otherwise mutilate the whole
or any part of her own labia majora, labia minora or clitoris”

“A person is guilty of an offence if he aids, abets, counsels or procures a person who is not a United Kingdom national or permanent United Kingdom resident to do a relevant act of female genital mutilation outside the United Kingdom”

“This extends to any act done outside the United Kingdom by a United Kingdom national or permanent United Kingdom
resident” 30

Re-infibulation is also illegal under the act. The 2003 RCOG Clinical Guidelines state that:

“Any repair carried out after birth, whether following spontaneous laceration or deliberate defibulation, should be sufficient to appose raw edges and control bleeding, but must not result in a vaginal opening that makes intercourse difficult or impossible” 15a

However any necessary surgery performed by a registered medical practitioner for the mental or physical wellbeing of the women is exempt from committing a criminal offence. The maximum penalty for any of the above offences is 14 years imprisonment. 30