In this module we detail what to look out for that may be signs you would notice in a girl that might have had FGM. 

Identifying the Signs of FGM

Like with every safeguarding issue, there isn’t a tick list that we can use, but there are some common things to look out for and be vigilant about. 

Now let’s take a look at concerns we might have about a child at risk. Select the left and right arrows underneath the image to advance through key areas of information contained on each the slides:

The image below contains an additional list of potential indicators that FGM might be taking place. Select each of the exclamation icons (!) to help you identify these signs when necessary:

Learner Activity: What Would You Do?

In the following exercise, read the question and before you read the answer to the right, contemplate how you might approach this situation if you were facing the same or similar scenario:

Question

If you were working with a girl aged 6 and she said she was going on holiday to Egypt, what would you do?

Answer

Going on holiday to Egypt is not a significant enough reason to assume she is going there for FGM. If this is the only concern you have then there is no action required in relation to FGM or mandatory reporting.

A girl in Year 6 returns from a trip to London with her family after the summer holiday and she is asking to go to the toilet every few minutes and is found crying in pain in the toilet and says ‘mummy says I mustn’t tell you what has happened to me’

This is indeed concerning and could possibly be FGM or sexual abuse or something else the family is trying to hide. Whatever is happening here, the girl needs reassuring she is not in any trouble and she needs support and understanding, and the DSL needs to be informed immediately.

A Year 8 boy is crying and when asked why, he says ‘I hate my family and hate what they have done to my sister. They told me to tell you she has a sickness bug, but I saw blood all over her bed sheets and she looks like she’s about to die’

This is indeed concerning and could possibly be FGM or some other form of abuse of fabricated or induced illness. The boy has been asked to lie to school so you know the family is trying to hide something. Whatever is happening here, the boy needs reassuring he is not in any trouble for telling the truth and he needs support and understanding, and the DSL needs to be informed immediately as there is a child in danger and possibly not receiving appropriate medical treatment.

A 14-year-old girl says she cannot go to the Drs as she looks weird down there (she gestures towards her genitals). She says her period can’t come out of her properly as there isn’t enough room for it to get out.

This is concerning, and it seems that she is frightened and worried. She needs reassuring and the DSL needs informing and for them to seek advice from the local Children’s Services as well as to call the free, anonymous dedicated NSPCC FGM helpline on 0800 028 3550 or email fgmhelp@nspcc.org.uk.

Module Four: Knowledge Test