Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is any procedure which removes part or all of a girl or woman’s external genitalia for non-medical reasons. It is recognised as a human rights violation and a form of child abuse.It is illegal in Ireland under the Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Act 2012.

FGM can occur anytime from birth onwards, however is most common between the ages of 4-10 years. FGM is often practiced seasonally with the school holidays being the time a child is most at risk.

Key facts about FGM

  • FGM is a global problem with between 100-140 million women and girls affected
  • Over 3,780 women and girls in Ireland are living with the consequences of FGM
  • FGM is not a religious practice
  • FGM is also often known as “cutting”.
  • It is often a cultural norm in the communities where is practiced
  • It is recognised as a human rights violation, including a form of child abuse.
  • FGM is illegal in Ireland. It is also illegal to bring a child abroad for the purpose of FGM
  • The law is not enough to stop the practice – interventions aimed at providing education and adapting cultural practices and traditions are also needed
  • The prevalence of FGM varies between communities and can be very different in the same country.
  • ƒDo not assume that all families from practising communities will want their girls and women to undergo FGM.
  • Do not assume a woman or girl will know they have had FGM performed on them

Is FGM a religious practice?

No. The practice of FGM was around long before Christianity or Islam. It has existed in one form or another in almost all known civilisations throughout history and has not been confined to any one culture or religion.