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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Female Genital Mutilation Study for Health Professionals – Forward

September 18, 2009

What is the study about?

The study is being conducted to increase our knowledge about women and girls affected by female genital mutilation (FGM) in England and also to find out more about knowledge and training needs of key health professionals around FGM. It is anticipated that the study will serve as a benchmark and will be repeated annually to provide accurate data on trends.

Who is carrying out the study?

Funded by the Department of Health, FORWARD, the Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists are working together with King’s College London, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery to conduct a study with health professionals on FGM.

Why do we need health professionals’ help?

Often, women who are affected by FGM first come into contact with the NHS through maternity services, obstetrics and gynaecology, general practice, sexual health clinics, and other specialist clinics including FGM clinics. Therefore people working in these settings are ideally placed to participate.

What is the format of the study?

The study is in two parts:
1. Part One: Survey on women and girls affected by FGM: The survey is being carried out to increase our knowledge about women and girls affected by FGM.

You are asked to record the numbers of all those presenting with FGM and additional demographic data, e.g. ethnic background and the age at which FGM was carried out.

How to complete:

We are asking you to note the number of the people you see during September who have been affected by FGM. You may like to print out a copy of the template (available via, enter password fgmsurvey) keep it to hand, and update it after you finish each consultation. At the end of the month, submit data for the whole month via the same site at any time between 1 and 8 October 2009.
2. Part Two: Survey on the knowledge and training needs of key health professionals around FGM: This aims to assess the knowledge and training needs of health professionals around FGM.

How to complete:

The survey can be completed online (available via, enter password fgmsurvey) and takes around 15 minutes to complete. It only needs to be completed once any time up until 8 October 2009.

Why does the study need to take place?

The practice of FGM is against the law (FGM Act 2003) and can cause long-term mental and physical suffering, difficulty in giving birth, infertility and even death. New evidence from the World Health Organisation and CEMACH also confirm that FGM results in grave obstetric complications and neonatal deaths.

FGM has become a growing concern in the UK due to increase in women migrating to the UK from countries with FGM practising communities. It is impossible to estimate the actual numbers of women affected that are living in the UK due to the sensitive nature of the practice. Because most women may use more maternity services and related FGM and specialist services than other routine health and public services, data from these services will help provide a more reliable source for estimating the numbers of women that have undergone FGM who access specialist services.

What are we hoping to achieve by carrying out the study?

The study should indicate the prevalence of FGM together with some demographic data about those affected across England. It will also establish a useful baseline for future review and provide information on professionals’ knowledge and training needs. The results are likely to help inform the development of appropriate sexual and reproductive health services across the country and support policy and programme development.

How will the findings be reported?

The findings of this study will be reported within the forthcoming cross-government strategy on tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) and the reports of the VAWG Health Taskforce, due in early 2010.

Where can I go for help with taking part in the study?

If you are having problems accessing any part of the study, or to complete over the phone, please contact or call 0208 960 4000.