Abstract: Female genital mutilation (FGM) refers to a set of practices involving cutting, alteration or injury to the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. With no known health benefits, FGM is often associated with immediate and long-term health complications. Over 200 million girls and women worldwide are living with the effects of FGM. Every year 3 million girls and women are at risk of being cut and exposed to harmful health consequences. Globally FGM is concentrated in sub-Saharan African countries from the Atlantic Coast to the Horn of Africa, but women in other countries including Iraq, Oman, Yemen, Indonesia and Malaysia, are also affected. Global migration means FGM is now a worldwide health issue.
In the UK, there is increasing awareness of the importance of FGM as a health and safeguarding issue. There are many communities living in the UK who originate from countries where FGM is practised. Every local authority area is likely to have women and girls who are affected or potentially at risk. FGM has been a crime in the UK since 1985, and the government is committed to eliminating it. Recent legal changes now make it compulsory for doctors, teachers and other regulated professionals to report directly to the police when anyone aged under 18 makes a first hand disclosure of FGM or FGM is found on examination, and for English NHS health organisations to submit data to NHS Digital about women and girls they have seen who have experienced FGM.
Research on the effects of FGM on women and communities in England is limited. In particular, we know little of affected communities’ knowledge and understanding of these new legal changes, and how this might impact on people’s willingness to go to their doctor. Nor do we know how health professionals are responding to these changes.
We held a series of patient and public involvement (PPI) events with women, communities, health professionals, teachers and researchers living and working in England. We wanted to listen and understand more about these issues and what affected communities believe are the healthcare needs and research priorities.
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Categories: health Identifying topics, prioritising and commissioning impact on research impact of public involvement journal article
Date Entered: 2019/01/08
Date Edited: 2019/01/08