A new duty on teachers came into effect on 31 October 2015 known as the ‘FGM mandatory reporting duty’.
It applies in England and Wales to ‘qualified teachers or persons who are employed or engaged to carry out teaching work in schools and other institutions’. In Wales, the duty applies to persons regulated by the Education Workforce Council.
Teachers are obliged to report known cases of FGM involving young women and girls who are under 18. If incidents come to light after a woman’s 18th birthday, but took place before her 18th birthday, the duty still applies.
The key word here is ‘known’ cases. This can stem from a disclosure or observations of physical signs that an act of FGM has been carried out. There is the caveat that the act was not part of a procedure necessary for the girl or young woman’s physical or mental health or associated with pregnancy-related labour or birth.
Incidents should be reported to the police by dialling the 101 non-emergency number. If there is a risk to life or there is the prospect of serious immediate harm, then the police should be informed by dialling 999.
The suspicion that a person has been subjected to an act of FGM or is at risk of such a procedure must be responded to by following normal safeguarding procedures.