Stoke-on-Trent health professionals encourage people to be aware of FGM

Stoke-on-Trent health professionals encourage people to be aware of FGM
08 June 2017

Health professionals in Stoke-on-Trent are encouraging people to spot the signs that someone may be vulnerable to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and know where to go for support.

FGM is an illegal procedure where the female genitals are deliberately cut, injured or changed, where there's no medical reason for this to be done. It is usually carried out on young girls between infancy and the age of 15 and is also known as "female circumcision" or "cutting" among other names.   

Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust’s Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) team are working to raise awareness of the topic among local communities before the summer holidays, a time when girls are more at risk of being taken abroad to undergo FGM.

The procedure is illegal if it’s undertaken in the UK, or if a UK resident travels to another county to undergo FGM.

Partnership Trust Sexual Health Nurse, Clare Lovatt said: “FGM can cause severe pain, infertility, infection, prolonged bleeding and can be fatal. This practice can cause irreparable physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual harm to girls and women that may be lifelong and has no medical justification.”

Sonya Heera, BME Project Worker added: “We as a team want to make people aware that female cutting is unacceptable and is seriously damaging for the young girls who go through this. The BME team are able to signpost and refer into support services and are always here to listen to provide tailored information to those that need it. If you know someone who is at risk of being taken abroad to undergo FGM, please call the police on 101, or 999 in emergencies.”

Free and confidential support services are available in Stoke-on-Trent for those affected by FGM, which offer a safe space to talk and get advice. There are also a number of specialist FGM clinics across the country where people who have undergone FGM can access further support.

For further advice and information on FGM and related issues, please call the Black and Minority Ethnic team’s confidential helpline, 0300 123 0970 or email BMETeam@ssotp.nhs.uk.