Female genital mutilation causes harm.
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FGM/C: Advice and help for women and girls who are affected and their families

Do you have questions about FGM/C? Would you like personal, free advice? Or do you know a woman who is affected or a girl who is at risk and would like to help them? Our female staff will deal with your questions and worries and provide free help. We are here for you!

What is FGM/C?

FGM/C stands for “Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting”. The abbreviation covers all types of genital mutilation which are performed on girls and women. Genital mutilation is not only very painful but usually has significant physical and mental health consequences for the girls and women who are involved. These consequences are life-changing and require treatment.

FGMhelp – your contact point for female genital mutilation in the Canton of Zurich

As the Canton of Zurich’s contact point for female genital mutilation, FGMhelp can offer you free and confidential advice and support – by telephone or in person at the Ambulatorium Kanonengasse outpatients clinic, located in Zurich city centre. Our female staff are happy to provide personal assistance. They have excellent networks and can set up contact with specialists. Would you like to speak to someone in your own language? We can help. Would you like a medical opinion? We can refer you. Do you have legal questions? We are in contact with specialist lawyers.

Affected or at risk? We will support you.

You are welcome to get in touch with our contact point to discuss any questions relating to female genital mutilation. We are here for you.

The Canton of Zurich’s
contact point for
female genital mutilation

Ambulatorium Kanonengasse outpatients clinic
Kanonengasse 18
8004 Zürich

The most frequently asked questions about FGM/C

How many girls and women are circumcised?

The child welfare organisation UNICEF estimates that over 230 million women and girls living around the world today have undergone some form of genital circumcision. There are over 20 000 girls and women in Switzerland who have undergone it or at risk of it. Around 2 900 of them live in the Canton of Zurich.

Is FGM/C even permitted from a legal point of view?

No, in Switzerland and in the vast majority of other countries FGM/C is prohibited and punishable as bodily harm. Even in countries where female genital mutilation is practised on girls and women, there are now laws that prohibit FGM/C and make it a punishable offense.

You can find more detailed information about the legal situation in Switzerland and the rest of the world on our topic page and on the website of the Network against Female Genital Mutilation Switzerland.

What forms of genital circumcision are there?

There are four basic types of FGM/C. Depending on the type, the external clitoris, the clitoral hood or the inner and/or outer labia are fully or partially removed. The word “infibulation” is used to describe a procedure during which the vaginal opening is often almost completely sewn shut. A specialist female gynaecologist can explain exactly what was done to you.

What impact can genital circumcision have?

FGM/C can cause both physical and mental health damage. The circumcision procedure itself can cause severe pain, bleeding, swelling, infections and many other problems. After the circumcision, girls or women can, among other things, suffer from chronic illness and infections. They can experience severe pain when, and difficulties with, urinating, during sexual intercourse, menstruation, pregnancy and during the birth of a child. Possible mental health consequences include post-traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, anxiety disorders and depression.