Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

FGM and the Law


FGM is an illegal practice in the UK.

A person is guilty on an offence if they excise, infibulate, or otherwise mutilate the whole or any part of a girl’s or woman’s internal labia, external labia or clitoris for non-medical reasons.

It is illegal to perform/arrange for FGM to be carried out on a girl in the UK or to take abroad a British national or permanent resident for FGM, or to help someone trying to do this.

Virginity testing and hymenoplasty

As of the Health and Care Act 2022, virginity testing and hymenoplasty, the inspection of a girl’s or woman’s genitalia meant to determine whether she has had vaginal intercourse, are illegal to carry out. For more information on virginity testing and hymenoplasty visit here

Breast ironing (flattening)

There is no specific law within the UK around breast ironing, the process during which young pubescent girls’ breasts are ironed, massaged or flattened in order for the breasts to disappear or delay the development of the breasts entirely; however it is recognised as child cruelty and assault and should be prosecuted as a form of child abuse in CPS guidance.