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Female circumcision or female genital mutilation is an operation on the external genitals, for which there is no medical necessity. It involves part or all of the female genitalia being excised. The consequences of female genital mutilation can be enormous, both physically and psychologically.

Female circumcision is a serious form of abuse and all forms of female circumcision are prohibited in the Netherlands. Circumcising a girl who lives in the Netherlands or having her circumcised, even if it is done abroad, is prohibited. Nor does the law allow you to help with or prepare for a circumcision.

Are you affected by female circumcision or female genital mutilation?
This is what you can do!

Contact Safe Home

Safe Home is for everyone who is directly or indirectly affected by domestic violence and child abuse and has experts in the field of female circumcision.

You can call for advice and support. This can either be for yourself or for someone else. You will speak to an employee who will listen carefully to what you have to say. This employee answers questions and gives advice. The employee will check with you whether professional help is needed and what help is best. You can remain anonymous if you want or need to.

Both girls who are worried and parents who experience pressure to have their daughter circumcised can contact Safe Home for advice.

Sometimes, it quickly becomes clear what the problems are and what help is needed. We will refer you to the right service or organise the right help for you. Sometimes, the problem is not clear and therefore that needs to be established first. Safe Home does this with the people concerned, as much as possible. But if that is not possible, Safe Home can also conduct an investigation without the consent of those involved, should this be necessary for the safety of the children or adults.

Are you not sure? Call us, anonymously if you want, for advice. Nothing changes if you don’t!

Talk about it with someone you trust

Talking to someone close to you is an important first step. Often, there are more people willing to help you than you think. A close friend, family member or a neighbour who you trust. In addition to opening up to this person, you can also ask if he or she will come along with you to a relief agency or General Practitioner.

Sometimes as a parent, you experience a lot of pressure from the community or family in the home country to have your daughter circumcised. That can make it difficult to say no. Still, there are steps you can take to prevent female circumcision. Explaining that female circumcision is punishable in the Netherlands is a good step. Especially when you’re going on holiday to the home country of your family, it is important to talk to them before your departure and discuss the fact that female circumcision is an offence.

You can also download proof of this being punishable by law. This is an official government document and is available in multiple languages (Amharic, Arabic, English, French, Dutch, Somali and Tigrinya). This form can be used to explain to family that female circumcision is punishable in the Netherlands, even if it is performed abroad. Do not be persuaded otherwise. Sometimes, it is better not to take your daughter abroad with you, especially when there is a lot of pressure from the community to have her circumcised. If she does go with you, do not leave her unattended.

You can also ask for help or advice (anonymously) from experts about what to do to prevent circumcision of your daughter or other family member. Call Safe Home for advice. Alternatively, contact FSAN. FSAN has a lot of knowledge about female circumcision and can share their thoughts and advice with you.     

Need help right away? Call the police!

Emergency? Call 112.

What happens when I call?

  • We listen to your story
  • You get advice
  • We will look for help together
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CALL (FREE) 0800-2000

You can contact us 7 days a week, 24 hours a day (for free).

This is what you can do if you’re worried about someone else

Contact Safe Home

If you have strong suspicions that someone is a victim of female circumcision or female genital mutilation, or possibly will be, you must report this. Girls may be afraid to talk about it themselves or not be aware of the risks, or relatives may be pressurised by family in the country of origin.

Safe Home can advise on how to deal with this situation and offer support. You can also call Safe Home on 0800-2000 or contact us via chat.

If you want to report female circumcision, contact Safe Home in that case as well. You can do so by completing the report form for professionals or by telephone.

Talk to the person involved

Talking to the parents or children you are worried about is a big step. You often don’t know what is going on exactly. And you don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings. In addition, children or educators may feel ashamed and want to keep it secret. It is also possible that your concerns were unjustified. Still, it is better to find out. If the case does involve a planned female circumcision, you can discuss together how you can do something about it. Point out to them that the act is punishable by law in the Netherlands and the possibility of getting advice and help through Safe Home.

Need help right away? Call the police!

Emergency? Call 112.

This is what you can do if you have been circumcised yourself

You may have been circumcised yourself and are still experiencing problems because of it. Many circumcised girls and women suffer from symptoms such as bladder infection (cystitis), abdominal pain and/or problems peeing. Sexual intercourse can also be painful. In addition, there can be psychological consequences, such as stress, fear and mistrust. In that case, asking the General Practitioner for assistance is the right thing to do. The General Practitioner can also refer you to visit a specialist.

The South Limburg region also offers the option to attend a consultation at the Sexual Health Centre of the South Limburg Regional Health Service. Women up to the age of 25 can go there with questions or issues regarding sexuality. These questions may also be related to female genital mutilation.

You can contact FSAN for questions and information. They can advise on what to do if you have been circumcised and have experts who know your country of origin well.