Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003

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Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003
Long titleAn Act to restate and amend the law relating to female genital mutilation; and for connected purposes.
Citation2003 c. 31
Territorial extentEngland and Wales; Northern Ireland
Royal assent30 October 2003
Commencement3 March 2004[1]
Status: Current legislation
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended

The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (c. 31) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom applying to England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It was introduced by Baroness Rendell of Babergh (Ruth Rendell) on 14 July of that year as House of Lords Bill 98.[2] It extended previous legislation by also making it illegal for UK nationals to perform female genital mutilation outside the borders of the UK, and increased the maximum penalty from five to 14 years.[3]

The Act replaced the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985. The Act does not extend to Scotland, the corresponding legislation there is the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Act 2005.

Experts said in 2003 that about 74,000 women in the UK have been subjected to the procedure, and that up to 7,000 girls would be at risk to be subjected to it abroad.[4] As of 2009 no one has been successfully prosecuted in the UK, under either the 1985 or 2003 Acts.[5]

In March 2014, a doctor from the Whittington Hospital near Highgate London was the first person charged with an offence contrary to the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003,[6] he was cleared in February 2015.


  1. ^ Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (Commencement) Order 2004
  2. ^ parliament.uk: HL/PO/JO/10/16/41/1806 "A bill to restate and amend the law relating to female genital mutilation" (HL Bill 98)
  3. ^ "FGM: More than 5,000 new cases in England". BBC News. 2017-04-22. Retrieved 2017-07-04.
  4. ^ "Female circumcision act in force". BBC News Online. 3 March 2004.
  5. ^ Lakhani, Nina (20 December 2009). "UK fails to halt female genital mutilation". The Independent.
  6. ^ telegraph.co.uk: "Doctor becomes first person in Britain charged with performing a Female Genital Mutilation procedure" 21 March 2014

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