London, Royal College of Nursing, 2006.
Female Genital Mutilation: an educational resource for nursing and midwifery staff
An extract from the guideline foreword:
We are all living and working in increasingly multi-racial, multicultural communities, which afford us many opportunities to learn about, and appreciate various customs and traditions. However, female genital mutilation (FGM) is one tradition that cannot be unquestionably regarded as acceptable. FGM is now considered as a harmful traditional practice, as well as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
Health professionals, especially nurses and midwives, who may come into contact with girls and women who have undergone FGM, have a responsibility to provide them with the very best care. They will not be able to do this unless they know about and understand FGM. That is why I am so pleased to see that the Royal College of Nursing has taken the initiative to produce this guidance for its members.
The guidance provides a snapshot of the basic background information and the health consequences of FGM, and importantly the legislative, child protection and human rights dimensions of this practice. It is critical that all nurses and midwives are clear in their minds that FGM is abuse, and that they have a responsibility to act to protect girls from this type of abuse. To fail to act because of labels of culture, tradition, religion or because of the fear of being labelled ‘racist’ is unacceptable!
It is FORWARD’s hope that reading this guidance will challenge you, encourage you to read further,
empower you to act when you need to, and motivate you to start raising FGM with practising
communities – changing long-held beliefs, and resulting in positive, permanent, behaviour change.