The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines FGM as ‘all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons’.

FGM has been unlawful in Scotland since 1985. Scottish Government considers FGM to be an unacceptable and illegal practice, a form of child abuse, violence against women, and a violation of the human rights of women and girls. An FGM Multi Agency Short Life Working Group (SLWG) was established in 2014 with the objective to recommend a consistent multi-agency approach to be taken in Scotland towards the elimination of the practice of FGM. The SLWG consists of a core group of key stakeholders from both the statutory and third sectors and is supported by a wider reference group who are able to provide input as required.  

Scotland's National Action Plan to Prevent and Eradicate FGM (2016 - 2020) sets out an agreed range of actions and associated activities to be taken forward by Scottish Government and its partners to prevent and ultimately eradicate FGM. It also identifies any gaps in our knowledge and makes recommendations on how we can close them by working collaboratively across a wide range of interests and policy areas to develop best possible outcomes.


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