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GPs will have to report instances of FGM as a legal requirement

GPs face a referral to the GMC is they fail to report instances of female genital mutilation (FGM), as new Government legislation declares it child abuse.

Under the legal change, which will be made before the end of the current Parliament, GPs will have to report to the police all cases of ‘known’ FGM – i.e. instances which are disclosed by the victim and/or are visually confirmed – in all patients under the age of 18 within one month of initial disclosure/identification.

If they fail to do so, they could face being referred to the GMC.

The Government’s minister for crime prevention, Lynne Featherstone, said: ‘FGM is a criminal offence and it is child abuse. It can cause extreme and lifelong physical and emotional suffering and we all have a responsibility to do all we can to put a stop to it.

‘We believe that introducing a mandatory duty will provide clarity for professionals and will give them the confidence to confront FGM. It will aid police investigations and increase the number of perpetrators caught and prosecuted. It will also send a clear message to perpetrators that they will be held responsible for their actions and help prevent this appalling crime from happening.’

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It comes as MPs have also urged the Government to look into whether GPs could assess patients deemed at an especially high risk of FGM.

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