The terms FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) and FGC (Female Genital Cutting) refer to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non medical reasons (World Health Organisation, 2008) and there are various types of FGM.

FGM is illegal in the UK and some other countries, and is a form of child abuse and in the same way as domestic abuse, FGM is regarded as an oppressive practice, an act of abuse against women, girls and children and a violation of their human rights. 

FGM is also known as cutting or female circumcision (Lockh, 2004). Other traditional and local terms are: Absum, Kutairi, Ibi/Ugwu, Khitan, Gudiniin, Bondo, Tahoor, Halalays, Sunna, Gadja, Niaka, Qodiin Kutairi/Ichana Khifad Thara. 

Very often the cutting happens at such a young age, that the woman doesn't even realise that the pain she has endured ever since, is not normal. It creates infection, pain and scarring that creates severe pain with urinating, sexual intercourse and childbirth.

FGM is internationally recognised as a violation of the rights of girls and women. It constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women and reflects the deep-rooted inequality between the sexes. The practice violates a persons right to physical integrity, security, health and the right to be free from degrading treatment, torture and cruelty. It also violates the right to life when the procedure results in death (World Health Organisation). 


  • Specialist practical and emotional support for women, children and girls whom are victims, or at risk of, genital mutilation and abuse

  • Safe refuge accommodation

  • Awareness raising of FGM within practicing communities

  • Training to professionals in statutory and voluntary services, including schools, doctors surgeries and hospitals and midwives

  • Recruitment of Community Champions to extend our reach to all communities

  • Promotion and publication of the ' Ending FGM' message

  • Working at a strategic level to ensure a good policy response

For information on free FGM training and the specialist support services we offer at Coventry Haven Women's Aid, please email ssullivan@coventryhaven.co.uk or call 08001114998.  

If you would like to join our Friendship Group, held every first and third Monday of each month from 10am - 12noon, please contact Seto as above. They are held at the Central Library, Smithford Way, Coventry CV1 1FY. 

Please see our Useful Links page for further information and organisations.


The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 makes it illegal to perform FGM on girls who are UK citizens or permanent residents, here in the UK or anywhere in the world. It is an offence to attempt to help to mutilate girls locally or internationally. The penalty is up to 14 years in prison and/or a fine.  


Contact the nearest British Consulate Embassy or High Commission for help.