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Throughout the world, there are many different types of harmful practices that violate human rights, predominantly of women. On this page you can access information and signposting to additional services including the Safe in Warwickshire website which provides detailed information.

Female Genital Mutilation

FGM involves the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other damage to the genital organs, for supposed cultural, religious or non-medical reasons.  FGM, also known as female circumcision (cutting or sunna) can affect females from birth to pregnancy.  It inflicts severe physical and psychological damage which can last a lifetime.  While there is some intelligence to suggest that FGM is being physically performed in the UK, most victims are usually taken abroad, commonly on flights in the holiday periods of Easter, summer and Christmas.  For further details about FGM, including warning signs, resources and contacts, click here.

Virginity Testing and Hymenoplasty

Women and girls are coerced, forced and shamed by family members into undergoing these procedures.  Virginity testing and hymenoplasty are illegal and are forms of violence against woment and girls, forming the cycle of 'honour-based' abuse.  The practices are degrading and intruse and are performed without consent.  This can leave the women or child traumatised.  The practices have been linked to suicide.  Victims can take years to come forward.  This could be attributed to not knowing the abuse was abnormal or wrong at the time, feeling shame, or having been taught that speaking out against the family/community is wrong and leads to repercussion.  New guidance has been developed as part of the Health and Care Act 2022 offering advice and support to frontline professionals, managers, volunteers and anyone else who may come into contact with girls or women at risk or have undergone virginity testing and/or hymenoplasty. Read the guidance here

Honour Based Violence (HBV)
It is a crime or incident which has, or may have been, committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community.  HBV has the potential to be both a domestic abuse and child abuse concern.  There are specific behaviours, attitudes and actions that may constitute dishonour and are wide ranging.  Individuals, families and communities may take drastic steps to preserve, protect or avenge their honour which can lead to substantial human rights abuses.  For further details abut HBV including warning signs, click here.

Forced Marriage
Unlike an arranged marriage where the prospective spouses may choose whether or not they wish to accept the partnership, a forced marriage is when one or both spouses do not consent to the marriage, or consent is extracted through duress.  From June 2014, forcing someone to marry against their will is crime and anyone found guilty can face up to seven years in prison.  For further details, click here.  

Practitioners can download posters to display in the workplace which details the website address where further information can be accessd.  To access, click each poster title below alternatively download via Safe in Warwickshire website.  

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Honour Based Violence (HBV)
Forced Marriage 

Further resources and services 

FGM                                                   HBV                                           Forced Marriage                      
National FGM Centre  Karma Nirvana GOV.UK
NSPCC Refuge  GOV.UK - video resource
GOV.UK Virginity Testing and Hymenoplasty Guidance Karma Nirvana
Blue Sky Centre Middle Eastern Women & Society Organisation Refuge 
Coventry Haven IKWRO - Specialist refuge for Farsi, Kurdish, Arabic, and English speakers Forced Marriage Guidance
Refuge  Freedom Charity   
Petals for Professionals    
Specialist FGM Clinics    
Coventry and Rugby CCG    
NHS England - FGM    


How to report a concern
If you or someone you know is, or is at risk of becoming, a victim of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Honour Based Violence (HBV) and Forced Marriage, contact Warwickshire Police on 101.  In an emergency call 999.

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