Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Day

06/02/2024

Zero Tolerance to FGM Day

The event

On 6th February 2024, ACERS-UK celebrated Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Day by hosting a national stakeholder event. This event was part of a programme of work funded by The Urology Foundation. The conversations on the day revolved around one key issue: ‘Do YOU think that FGM survivors in the UK should have access to reconstructive surgery?’

ACERS-UK (Advocating Access to Clitoral reconstruction surgery and Emotional support for FGM Survivors within a Research framework) is a project led by a passionate group of FGM survivors, charity workers, and health care professionals with a shared goal of establishing a national FGM reconstruction service that not only offers surgery but also provides emotional support, psychosexual therapy, and a range of other tailored treatments.

The Urology Foundation’s role

The Urology Foundation provided a grant via our Smaller Projects Fund to this important programme that seeks to understand whether FGM reconstruction is beneficial for survivors and whether it should be offered as part of standard NHS care.  Our grant covered a number of activities including research, patient involvement and engagement and this national stakeholder information-sharing event.

Presentations on the day

During the event, attendees heard four presentations given by ACERS-UK members;

  • What is reconstruction surgery? Why it should be available in the UK? – presentation by Juliet Albert and Huda Mohammed (FGM Specialist midwives) The video is available to view here.
  • How psychosexual therapy will be integrated into the new service? – presentation by Natasha Anderson-Foster (psychosexual therapist). The video is available to view here.
  • FORWARD launched their research: “Diaspora Change Makers in the Global Movement to End FGM: Exploring Experiences, Motivations, and Impact” Presented by Naana Otoo-Oyortey MBE. The video is available to view here.
  • Janet Fyle MBE from the Royal College of Midwives launched their parliamentary petition. The video is available to view here.

What is FGM?

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a procedure where the female genitals are deliberately cut, injured or changed, but there’s no medical reason for this to be done.

FGM is usually carried out on young girls between infancy and the age of 15, most commonly before puberty starts.

It’s illegal in the UK and is considered child abuse – it is also outlawed in many other countries around the world. It is very painful and can seriously harm the health of women and girls. It can also cause long-term problems with sex, childbirth and mental health. The lifelong health problems caused by FGM is estimated to cost the NHS approximately £100 million annually.

In England and Wales it is estimated that there are around 137,000 FGM survivors, predominantly from Black, Asian and Minority ethnic communities.

For more information about FGM, see the NHS website here.

Find out more

For more details about the Zero Tolerance on FGM day event, there is a photo story recap available here and a full event recap can be viewed here.

To join their campaign and sign their petition, you can visit their website here.

For more information about the ACERS-UK project, please reach out to Juliet at juliet.albert@nhs.net