Reporting female genital mutilation (FGM) cases
General Optical Council eBulletin 26
December 2015

Reporting female genital mutilation (FGM) cases


As of 31 October 2015, the Department of Health has introduced a duty for all healthcare professionals to report any case of female genital mutilation in girls (FGM) under the age of 18 to the police. 

For optometrists and dispensing opticians, FGM may come to your attention if, for example, a child tells you that it has happened to them.

FGM is a procedure where the female genital organs are deliberately cut or injured, but where there is no medical reason for this to be done. It is very painful and dangerous and can seriously harm women’s and girls’ health. Some girls die from blood loss or infection as a direct result of the procedure. Women who have had FGM may have mental health conditions as a result, and are likely to have difficulty in giving birth.

FGM is considered as child abuse, and is illegal under UK law. It is now a legal duty for healthcare professionals to report any cases they may suspect or be made aware of.

When the police receive this information, they will speak with healthcare and children’s services professionals to determine what should be done, given the circumstances of the individual case.

Full guidance, posters and other resources can be found on our website or on the Department's website, where you can also find a video guide. 

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eBulletin 26 - December 2015

Welcome to eBulletin

CET deadline reminder

Video guide to new Standards

David Parkins to join Council

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