Advice for Professionals
What to do if you are concerned or have been made aware FGM has occurred:
Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and each professional and organisation must play their part.
A child who has faced, or is worried about FGM, might not realise what’s happening is wrong, and they might even blame themselves. If a child talks to you about FGM it’s important to:
- Listen carefully to what they’re saying
- Let them know they’ve done the right thing by telling you
- Tell them it’s not their fault
- Say you’ll take them seriously
- Don’t confront the alleged abuser
- Explain what you’ll do next
- Report what the child has told you as soon as possible
If you think a child may be at risk of FGM, you must seek help and advice. If you think a child is in immediate danger, then contact the police on 999. If not:
- Inform your Designated Child Protection Advisor who must inform Children’s Services
- Contact Coventry Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub on 024 7678 8555
In 2015, a mandatory reporting duty came into force that requires health professionals, teachers and social care professionals to make report to the police where, in the course of their professional duties, they either:
- Are informed by a girl (under 18) that an act of FGM has been carried out on her
- Observe physical signs which appear to show FGM has been carried out on a girl under 18.
Please not that the relevant age is the girl’s age at the time of the disclosure/identification of FGM. It does not apply where a woman aged over 18 discloses FGM carried out when she was under 18.
If a girl (under 18) has disclosed she has undergone FGM or you have visually identified FGM, and you are a regulated professional, you will need to call the police via the 101 non-emergency number as part of your mandatory reporting duty. This duty is a personal duty which requires the individual professional who becomes aware of the case to make a report; the responsibility cannot be transferred.
If you believe that a victim or potential victims of FGM is in immediate danger, always dial 999.
What is an FGM Protection order
Apply for an FGM protection order (FGMPO). Anyone can apply on Gov.uk if they are concerned that someone is at risk of FGM. An FGMPO is a legal means to protect and safeguard victims and potential victims of FGM. They are granted by a court and contain conditions to protect for example, they could order a surrender of a passport to prevent the person at risk being taken abroad.
Anyone (including children under 18) can apply for an FGMPO for themselves or somebody else.
There is no charge. Find out more at https://www.gov.uk/female-genital-mutilation-protection-order
Local resources and further information
Coventry Safeguarding Children Partnership (CSPC)
Telephone: 024 7697 5477
Petals App - Petals for Professionals is an online resource which explains the legal responsibilities of professionals and provides information on where to get further help and advice.
National resources and further information
The NSPCC has a 24-hour helpline to provide advice and support to victims of FGM, or to anyone who may be concerned a child is at risk – call the helpline on 0800 028 3550 or email email@example.com
Guidance and resources have been published by the Home Office that give relevant professionals and the police an understanding of the new (FGM) mandatory reporting duty, which can be accessed in the links below: