Safeguarding children is a very broad topic, covering many different aspects of children’s welfare. Part of this understanding the issue of Female Genital Mutilation – often referred to as FGM.
This unnecessary and cruel procedure has featured in the news quite recently with more arrests being made than ever before. This practice is commonly carried out in young girls so it is something all childcare workers should be aware of.
What is FGM?
FGM is the abbreviated term for a practice carried out on girls aged between 0 and 15, otherwise known as female genital mutilation.
It involves cutting a girl’s genitals which can cause injury and irreparable damage, affecting their overall well being. Children who are victims of this are often taken abroad whereas in some countries it is still legal. Here in the UK, it is not a legal act and therefore it is something anyone working with children should be clued up about.
FGM awareness is a valuable enhancement to your child safeguarding knowledge.
FGM is often linked to religious ideals and it is a great deal more intrusive than male circumcision. There are countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is practised. Worryingly, some health care workers in these countries are involved in the practice which is referred to as medicalisation.
What Course Do You Need For FGM Awareness?
You will briefly cover FGM in your Safeguarding Children Course which is mandatory for childcare workers. However, there is a lot to cover on a generalised course so it is well worth participating in one focusing purely on FGM.
FGM Awareness Training Courses
Doing an online FGM Awareness course will allow you to understand the act itself and also be able to recognise possible signs this has occurred with a child.
For example, a child may unexpectedly go on holiday without this being discussed and be away for some time. A child may display signs of discomfort in their genital area which is not something you would expect or find normal.
FGM is a form of abuse and needs to be taken very seriously. It is good practice for staff to receive training on FGM so that they can look out for any indications this is happening
FGM Awareness Training – What Do You Learn?
Like with most safeguarding related courses, this one can be hard to listen to at times but you will learn a lot including:
- Definition of FGM
- Countries that carry out FGM will be named
- Why FGM is performed
- The different types of FGM
- The risks involved with FGM practices
- What laws exist around FGM
- Implications for health after FGM
- Signs to look for
- Reporting concerns
Who Needs an FGM Awareness Course?
Anyone who works closely with children should have their knowledge enhanced by doing an FGM Awareness course.
Staff who work in a large setting such as a school or nursery should aim to have one completed for at least one member of each room. Anyone in sole charge of children, such as Childminders, should also complete this course.
One of these courses will take around 2 to 3 hours to complete and should ideally be retaken every few years so that staff can refresh their knowledge.