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Teaching about FGM

Dr Kate Cook urges solicitors to be more aware about a practice that has no place in our society

4 May 2017

Female genital mutilation is a practice which is traditional in at least 26 cultures worldwide, particularly in those from Africa and Asia. This is an oversimplification, however, as FGM is a term that is used to describe a range of ceremonies which involve the removal, burning, or scraping of the female genitals. These practices are carried out on young girls. All of them are harmful. There are no health benefits (quite the reverse) and there is no major religion which requires or supports FGM.

The nature of this social issue is changing with global migration. It is now known, for example, that there is a sizeable minority of the UK population who have suffered FGM and this, in turn, means there are young girls in the UK who are at risk of mutilation. At Manchester Law School I have the opportunity to teach our undergraduates about the law on FGM and I am always aware that, within the cohort, there could be some...

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