International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM

on 05 February 2019 FGM - Female Genital Mutilation

'FGM is a human rights abuse that will not be tolerated in the UK' says RCM on International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM.

Wednesday February 6th is International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

FGM is child abuse and is a human rights abuse which affects more than 200 million women and girls worldwide.

On this Zero Tolerance Day to Female Genital Mutilation the Royal College Midwives (RCM) has reflected on the progress made by the UK to end FGM in the UK and elsewhere across the world and the RCM acknowledges the steps taken by the UK Government, both legally to protect girls and in providing support for survivors of FGM.

In the UK over 24,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk of FGM and in England and Wales alone there are over 137,000 women and girls living with the physical and psychological consequences of FGM.

FGM is child abuse and is a human rights abuse which affects more than 200 million women and girls worldwide.

Commenting, Janet Fyle MBE Professional Policy Advisor at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) says; “No local authority area in England and Wales is untouched by FGM.  Many girls and women here in the UK continue to be at risk of Female Genital Mutilation and while we have made some progress in tackling FGM, there is more that we need to do.

This includes, raising awareness of the negative impact on the individuals’ life, the illegality of this practice and the consequences of carrying out FGM on a girl or woman.   

“As we know many survivors are still unable to access the specialist healthcare services they require and deserve. The RCM is urging the Government to ensure that accessible specialist health and psychological care and support services are made available in the community for survivors.

“Last week a mother was found guilty of female genital mutilation and it was the first ever FGM conviction in the UK, this prosecution was significant as it sends out a very clear message of Zero Tolerance, that those who engage in the practice of FGM or those who are concealing this crime will be held accountable and bought to justice.

“In the long term we must ensure that the safeguarding systems currently in place for protecting girls from FGM are understood by all those who work or interact with women and children particularly those in health, social care and education.

“Also, it’s imperative that we all remain vigilant and ask members of the various communities to work alongside professionals and report if they suspect that a child is at risk of FGM which is child abuse.”

*On Wednesday February 6th the RCM and The Vavangers will host a networking event in London which will bring together activists, healthcare workers, organisations and individuals working tirelessly to end FGM.

The event will provide an opportunity to come together to connect, collaborate and update one another on the ongoing work, with the aim of achieving the UN’s global goal of eliminating FGM by 2030.

The RCM and The Vavangers hope that the event will connect policies and initiatives in the UK as well as supporting grassroots activists and organisations abroad. 


Notes to editors


RCM’s ‘Call to Act on UK Government to end FGM by 2030’ can be viewed here.

More information on International Day of Zero Tolerance FGM can be viewed here:





To contact the RCM media relations team call 020 7312 3456 or email [email protected]

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at