Intended for healthcare professionals


Tackling female genital mutilation in the UK

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 04 December 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f7150
  1. Sarah M Creighton, consultant gynaecologist and honorary clinical professor,
  2. Lih-Mei Liao, consultant clinical psychologist and honorary reader
  1. 1University College London Hospitals, NW1 2PG London, UK
  1. sarah.creighton{at}

Intercollegiate recommendations are welcome, but where is the action plan?

As a result of the diaspora of communities that practise female genital mutilation, many more women are now living with genital mutilation in the United Kingdom, and many more girls are at risk. The campaign to end the practice in the UK has been spearheaded by committed and experienced activists (, with wide institutional endorsement),1 as reflected in recent intercollegiate recommendations for dealing with the problem.2

The document results from collaboration between the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Nursing, Equality Now, and the Unite union. It merges key points from several existing guidelines3 4 5 6 into a single paper that reiterates the core message: female genital mutilation is a form of child abuse. It points to the importance of data collection and sharing between relevant agencies for effective action. It stipulates appropriate professional care for girls and young women affected by the practice. For the recommendations to be implemented (we hope urgently), a strategic implementation plan with a tight time frame is …

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