FGM, forced marriage and honour-based abuse
Female genital mutilation (FGM)
This is a collective term for a range of procedures which involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It is sometimes referred to as female circumcision, or female genital cutting.
The practice is medically unnecessary, is extremely painful and has serious health consequences, both at the time when the mutilation is carried out, and in later life.
FGM has been classified by the World Health Organisation into four major types, all of which may be relevant to the offences arising under the FGM Act 2003:
- type 1: clitoridectomy: partial or total removal of the clitoris
- type 2: excision: partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora
- type 3: infibulation: narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal
- type 4: other: all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area
A forced marriage is one conducted without the valid consent of one or both parties and where duress is a factor.
Since June 2014, it has been a specific offence under section 121 of the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act.
So-called honour-based abuse is a crime or incident, which has or may have been committed as the perpetrators feel that they are protecting or defending the honour of the family and/or community.