Indicators of risk
The key indicators that a girl or young woman is potentially at risk of FGM are:
BUT do not assume that all women who have experienced FGM or all men from affected communities will support the practice.
The girl should be viewed as at increased risk if:
Different ethnic groups carry out FGM for different reasons, and at different ages. Parents in communities affected by FGM will believe that it is the right thing to do and that it is part of being a responsible parent. In working to protect girls it is very important to find out the reasons why FGM is carried out in her community / ethnic group, and the age at which it is arranged. If a girl is viewed as potentially at risk then there should be increased monitoring and support around the age at which FGM is traditionally carried out in her family / ethnic group.
Practitioners should aim to support parents in resisting any pressure from their family or wider community. In some areas arranging FGM is regarded as a community responsibility and it is possible that community leaders may arrange FGM without the parents knowledge or consent. Signs that a girl is at imminent risk of FGM could include: