FGM - workflow for managing under 18s concerns

Practitioners working in health, teaching and social work have a mandatory duty to notify the Police when they identify (informed by the girl or another person e.g. family member / practitioner or observe physical signs) that Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has been carried out on a girl under 18 - Serious Crime Act 2015 (unless a colleague in the same agency has already notified the Police in connection with the same act of FGM). Practitioners should complete the West Yorkshire Police FGM Reporting Form and email to cib@westyorkshire.pnn.police.uk or call 101.

If you are a practitioner e.g. from health, schools and, early years (and others) who identifies concerns about girls (and unborn children) who are at risk of or have experienced Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), you should seek advice from your own agency safeguarding lead; make assessment of risk and clearly document the outcome / decision. Then consider the following:

Is it felt or believed that the child (or unborn) is at risk of or has experienced FGM?

If NO

Record decision and monitor outcome. Pathway ends.

If YES

Practitioner to:

  • Carry out mandatory reporting
  • Discuss the referral with parents unless doing so will place the child at risk of significant harm
  • Make referral to Children’s Social Work Service in line as appropriate to the following:

Are you aware that this child already has an allocated social worker?

No, contact Duty and Advice

Duty and Advice will convene a face to face Strategy Discussion within one working day to include: Social Work Team Manager; Police; Health Practitioner; and ideally the practitioner who made the contact at a minimum.

  • Health and Police representatives and the Social Work Chair of the Strategy Discussion should have suitable knowledge about FGM
  • Discussion should focus on whether child, unborn child, or sibling/s of the child in question is likely to experience, or has experienced, FGM

Has the Strategy Discussion decided whether the child is at risk or has experienced FGM?

If no: the outcomes include:

  • No further action for social work
  • Referral for early help or third sector support
  • Referral to social work team for Child and Family Assessment under S17 Children Act 1989 – Child in Need

If yes: There will be a referral to relevant area social work team for S47 Enquiry and Child and Family Assessment.

The area social work team receiving referral will:

  • Complete S47 Enquiry in line with procedures and assessment
  • Seek legal advice if considering whether a FGM Children Protection order is required.

It may be decided to convene another strategy discussion to consider medical and/or other information gathered during the S47 enquiry.

Possible outcomes of S47 and assessment:

If concerns regarding FGM are not confirmed possible outcomes include:

  • No further action for social work
  • Referral for early help or third sector support
  • Child becomes subject to Child in Need plan under S17 Children Act 1989.

If concerns regarding FGM confirmed possible outcomes include:

  • Initial Child Protection Conference (and consideration of Family Group Conference).

If Yes, contact the Social Worker or the Social Work Team

The Social Work Team will convene a face to face Strategy Discussion within one working day to include: Social Work Team Manager; Police; Health Practitioner; and

  • ideally the practitioner who made the contact at a minimum.
  • Health and Police representatives and the Social Work Chair of the Strategy Discussion should have suitable knowledge about FGM
  • Discussion should focus on whether child, unborn child, or sibling/s of the child in question is likely to experience, or has experienced, FGM.

Has the Strategy Discussion decided that the child is at risk or has experienced FGM?

If no: Social Care will record outcome /decisions on child’s file and monitor.

If yes: Social Care will carry out S47 Enquiry and then the existing allocated area social work team will:

  • Complete S47 Enquiry in line with procedures and assessment
  • Seek legal advice if considering whether a FGM Children Protection order is required.

It may be decided to convene another strategy discussion to consider medical and/or other information gathered during the S47 enquiry.

Possible outcomes of S47 and assessment
If concerns regarding FGM are not confirmed possible outcomes include:

  • Current plan is progressed

If concerns regarding FGM confirmed possible outcomes include:

  • Initial Child Protection Conference (and consideration of Family Group Conference).

Resources to assist practitioners in undertaking Child & Family Assessment.

Department of Health FGM Risk & Safeguarding Guidance for Professionals - consider questions in Annex 1 to help inform assessment.

FGM Assessment Tool – National FGM Centre – Consider completing toolkit.

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