United Kingdom: FGM Helpline Launched
Monday, July 1, 2013 2:00 PM

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children recently launched a national helpline aimed at protecting girls in the United Kingdom from undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM). The helpline is part of a renewed effort to end FGM in the United Kingdom. 

Staffed by trained child-protection advisors, the helpline works to protect at-risk girls by offering advice, information, or support to callers. While calls can remain anonymous, any information given by a caller that could help prevent a girl from undergoing FGM will be passed on to the police or social services. Calls are welcomed from anyone who knows about a suspected or definite case of FGM.

FGM was first criminalized in the United Kingdom in 1985. UK laws have since been expanded to include criminalizing the act of sending girls out of the country to undergo the harmful practice. There are estimated to be 20,000 girls currently at risk for FGM in the United Kingdom. While the law has been in force for 30 years, there have been no prosecutions for FGM to date and law enforcement is aiming to change that. The Members of Parliament have suggested that police work preemptively to track girls identified as at-risk and intervene before FGM is carried out.

The helpline number is 0800 028 3550 or fgmhelp@nspcc.org.uk.

Compiled from: “Female Genital Mutilation Helpline Launched”.  NSPCC (June 24, 2013); “First Female Genital Mutilation Helpline to Protect UK Women and Girls”. 4 News (June 24, 2013); “MPs Urge More Action on Female Genital Mutilation”. BBC News (June 12, 2013); “UK Gets FGM Hotline to Tackle “Barbaric” Child Abuse”.  Thomson Reuters Foundation (June 28, 2013).