Female genital mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a form of gender-based violence and a serious violation of women and girls human rights.

During recent years, FGM has gained considerable attention in the EU. In June 2012, the European Parliament adopted the Resolution on ending female genital mutilation and in November 2013, the European Commission issued the Communication to the European Parliament and the Council Towards the elimination of female genital mutilation.

Following a call of the European Commission to EIGE, the Institute launched a Study on the estimation of the number of women and girls at risk of FGM in selected EU Member States.

Estimating the number of girls living in the EU at risk of being subjected to FGM poses several challenges. The present study will strive to develop a methodological approach to be used in all EU Member States so that countries can better design policies and support this population.

Ceremonial knives used in FGM © IRIN/Bryna Hallam

Ceremonial knives used in FGM © IRIN/Bryna Hallam

The pilot studies will be carried out in Ireland, Portugal and Sweden. These Member States have been selected based on different criteria, such as having a national action plan and a specific law to prosecute FGM, and creating FGM-specific records in different settings like healthcare, child protection, asylum, and immigration and border services.

The study will be concluded by the end of 2014 and its results and recommendations will be communicated by June 2015.

In 2012 EIGE launched a “Study to map the current situation and trends of female genital mutilation in 27 EU Member States (MS) and Croatia” at the request of EU Commissioner Viviane Reding.

The results of the project are the report, collections of resources, methods and tools and good practices and country fact sheets. It will support policy makers in their efforts to follow the law obligation in this area and develop strategies for effective elimination of female genital mutilation in Europe.

EIGE’s research − the first EU-wide study on FGM − shows that to effectively combat FGM, the EU needs a comprehensive strategy, based on a gender-sensitive and human-rights approach, which empowers girls and women to be in control of their lives and which balances the state measures of protection, prevention and prosecution.

Improvement in data collection and intensified efforts on the behavioural change among FGM-practising communities, decision-makers and stakeholders in the countries of origin are equally important.



The report presents among its recommendations a suggestion to implement legal provisions to criminalise FGM. It also points out the need for specialised services for victims of gender-based violence, including counseling and shelters. These services are currently insufficient and unequally distributed in and among the EU Member States. The report also calls for more coordination of FGM-related work among stakeholders at regional, national and international levels.

One of the recommendations is to establish a multi-agency cooperation on the protection of girls and women at risk and victims of FGM, and facilitate the exchange of good practices. A network of experts and key actors on gender-based violence – including FGM – should be established.

Related publications:

Estimation of girls at risk of female genital mutilation in the European Union: Report

Step-by-step guide: Estimation of girls at risk of female genital mutilation in the European Union

Female genital mutilation in the European Union and Croatia - Report

Country reports

Good practices in combating female genital mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation - Report from online discussion

Country fact sheets:

FGM Country factsheets

Belgium (FR, NL, EN)

Greece (EL, EN) Lithuania (LT, EN)  Portugal (PT, EN)
Bulgaria (BG, EN) Spain (ES, EN) Luxembourg (FR, EN) Romania (RO, EN)
Czech Republic (CS, EN) France (FR, EN) Hungary (HU, EN) Slovenia (SL, EN)
Denmark (DA, EN) Croatia (HR, EN) Malta (MT, EN) Slovakia (SK, EN)
Germany (DE, EN) Italy (IT, EN) Netherlands (NL, EN) Finland (FI, EN)
Estonia (ET, EN) Cyprus (EL, EN) Austria (DE, EN) Sweden (SV, EN)
Ireland (GA, EN) Latvia (LV, EN)  Poland (PL, EN) United Kingdom (EN)


Did you know that:

  • only 8 EU Member States have FGM prevalence studies
  • only 10 EU Member States have specific criminal law provision on FGM
  • only in 7 Member States hospital/medical records contain information about FGM.
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