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Is FGM illegal in the UK?

In a nutshell, yes – FGM is illegal in the UK and has been for nearly 30 years!

Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985

Since 1985, in the UK, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has been a criminal offence under the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985. However under this legislation, taking girls who were settled in the UK abroad to undergo FGM was not considered a criminal offence.

The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 was introduced to replace the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 and close this ‘loophole’.

Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003*

The Female Genital Mutilation Act was introduced in 2003 and came into effect on 03 March 2004. The Act only applies to offences committed on or after the date it came into effect. For offences committed before 3 March 2004 the Prohibition of Female Circumcision 1985, continues to apply.

The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003:

  • Makes it illegal to practice FGM in the UK
  • Makes it illegal to take girls who are British nationals or permanent residents of the UK abroad for FGM whether or not it is lawful in that country
  • Makes it illegal to aid, abet, counsel or procure the carrying out of FGM abroad
  • Has a penalty of up to 14 years in prison and, or, a fine.

*FGM is also illegal in Scotland based on the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act (Scotland) 2005

© 2017 Justice for FGM Victims