Protocols and materials
In cooperation with other organizations, Pharos developed a number of key protocols and materials for professionals who are confronted with FGM. We also collect and make available position statements and materials of other organizations.
Model action protocol for the Veilig Thuis organizations (hotline on domestic violence and child abuse)
Professionals who are confronted with (suspected) cases of female genital mutilation, need to have information on how they can act appropriately. Pharos therefore has developed an Action Protocol on FGM among Minors, in cooperation with FSAN, AMK (currently named: Veilig Thuis), the Youth Care Agency, police and justice, and the Council for Children’s Protection. This protocol is currently under review.
For professionals who are confronted with FGM
The action protocol is useful for all professionals and volunteers who are confronted with (suspected) cases of female genital mutilation among minors. It particularly focuses however on staff members of Veilig THuis (Safe at Home), the Youth Care Agency, the Council for Child Protection and the police. The protocol offers them tools on how to act when Veilig Thuis receives a report or request for advice.
This protocol describes two scenarios:
- suspicion of imminent FGM
- suspicion of performed FGM
For both scenarios, the appropriate routes of action are described, which also have been clarified in a useful scheme.
Handelingsprotocol vrouwelijke genitale verminking bij minderjarigen, Pharos, 2013 (Dutch only)
Model protocol on medical care for women and girls who have been circumcised
In 2009, Pharos teamed up with the Dutch Society for Gynaecology and Obstetrics (NVOG) and 12 other professional associations for the development of a model protocol on medical care for women and girls who have been circumcised. In June 2010, this model protocol received its final status. In 2012 it was slightly revised.
How to provide care to victims of FGM?
This model protocol states recommendations on how various medical professions can offer medical, psychosocial and sexological care to girls and women who have undergone female genital mutilation. This protocol pays attention to prevention, emergency care, and care in the long term in case the woman or girl develops symptoms.
For professionals who are confronted with FGM
The protocol was designed for different medical professionals who come into contact with girls or women who have been circumcised.
It contains information about:
• the precise definition of FGM
• the physical, psychosocial and sexual problems resulting from FGM
• care for women who have been circumcised
• care during pregnancy and childbirth
Position statement Youth Health Care
The position statement on the prevention of FGM of the Youth Health Care (YHC) system offers tools for physicians and nurses in the YHC for discussing the subject of girl circumcision with parents (and children) who originate from high-risk countries. It is based on the normal contact moments that are prescribed in the basic tasks list of the YHC. This position was developed in partnership with Pharos by the Centre for Youth Health of RIVM.
The purpose of the position statement is to support the YHC professionals in the prevention and detection of FGM or its consequences. The target group is working with children/youth aged 0-19 in the YHC sector.
The position includes:
- General information on FGM
- Legal information
- Guidelines for having a talk on girl circumcision with parents or children originating from risk countries
- Tools for making a risk assessment
- Guidelines on what a YHC employee should do:
– in case no risk has been assessed
– in case there are doubts about the risk
– in case a real risk has been assessed
- Guidance on when someone should ask for advice from or report a case to Veilig Thuis
- Information on the Declaration against girl circumcision
Standpunt Preventie van vgv door de jeugdgezondheidszorg, RIVM, 2010 (Dutch only)
Position statement KNOV (Royal Dutch Organization of Midwives)
The position on female genital mutilation of the Royal Dutch Organization of Midwives (KNOV) was established in 2007 and last revised in 2012. The position statement gives midwives guidelines for a professional attitude and careful action with regards to the care for women who have been circumcised in their youth. It describes which requirements there are for adequate care and what the role of the midwife can and should be in the fight against FGM.
The position includes:
- General information on FGM
- Specific obstetric care for circumcised women, including with regards to:
– obstetric complications of FGM
– communication aspects
– physical examination during pregnancy
– information on childbirth in relation to FGM
– performing obstetric acts in relation to FGM, such as opening and suturing of the vagina
- The role of the midwife in the prevention of FGM
The position statement also includes a practice card, which summarizes the indications for adequate treatment of circumcised women.
KNOV position on female genital mutilation (Dutch only)
Practice card (Dutch only)ule online course aims to provide professionals with information and practical advice on FGM.
Brochure ‘My parents say no!’
‘My parents say no’ is a brochure developed by GGD GHOR in cooperation with FSAN. In the brochure, aimed especially at parents originating from risk countries, some myths and facts about female circumcision are described. The parents also receive information about the penalization of FGM. The brochure is available in five languages:
A fatwa is an opinion of a Muslim scholar with regard to a particular issue that is based on the Quran and the Sunnah. A fatwa does not necessarily need to be understood as a judgment and is therefore not binding. However, the fact that religious leaders speak out against FGM can have a major impact on raising awareness among the target group.
Fatwa from Egypt, 2006
In 2006 the German human rights organization Target organized a conference at the Al-Azhar University in Egypt. Leading Muslim religious leaders who were present at the conference, endorsed a fatwa against FGM. This fatwa was issued by the highest Islamic cleric of Egypt, the Grand Mufti Professor Ali Goma’a. According to him, FGM should be seen as punishable aggression and a crime against humanity. A Muslim must always protect the integrity of the human body. FGM is at odds with the essence of Islam and therefore, Muslims should no longer carry out this traditional practice.
In 2007, at a seminar organized by the Islamic University of Rotterdam, Pharos and FSAN, Dutch imams signed a declaration in which they expressed their support for the Egyptian fatwa. They also promised to actively contribute to the fight against female genital mutilation in the Netherlands.
Fatwa of Mauritania, 2011
In 2011, religious leaders from ten African countries met in Mauritania to pronounce a fatwa against FGM. They came from Egypt, Sudan, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania. This regional fatwa is available in Arabic, English and French.
Statement opposing female circumcision
In conversations between professionals and parents from FGM risk countries, the strong influence of the family is frequently mentioned. Parents indicate that they do not want their daughters to be circumcised, however, family members residing in the country of origin may think differently. At the moment a girl is visiting her family over there, for example during the summer holidays, a risk arises. It is important that family members in the country of origin are well informed about the consequences of girl circumcision and also about its punishability.
Why a statement opposing female circumcision?
To educate family members abroad, the Ministry of Health has developed the document ‘Statement opposing female circumcision’. This statement is intended for parents originating from risk countries who plan to go on holiday to their country of origin. Youth Health Care professionals can give this declaration to the parents, with which they can inform their relatives abroad about the consequences and the penalization of female circumcision in the Netherlands.
Digital editions (PDFs)
Instruction (Dutch only)
Work instruction for information sessions for asylum seekers
The work instruction ‘Groepsvoorlichting aan asielzoekers ter preventie van vrouwelijke genitale verminking’ (Group education of asylum seekers on the prevention of FGM) is a road map that was established at the national level and serves as a tool for municipal health professionals. This participatory group education was developed for asylum seekers originating from FGM risk countries who are living in reception centres of the COA (Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers). However, the work instruction can also be used in the education of at-risk groups in other settings.
Target: Asylum seekers from FGM risk countries living in the reception centres of COA
Goals: Prevention of FGM among under aged girls and educating women originating from countries where FGM is a tradition about where or with whom they can talk about the physical and psychological symptoms they may develop as a result of FGM.
Groepsvoorlichting aan asielzoekers ter preventie van Vrouwelijke Genitale Verminking (GGD Nederland, 2011) (Dutch only)
Teaching toolkit on female circumcision
In cooperation with Rutgers, Pharos has compiled a teaching toolkit for the education sector. Using these materials, teachers can discus FGM in the classroom. The starting point of the teaching toolkit was to integrate knowledge about FGM and its consequences within the regular sex education lessons in primary and secondary schools. The materials can be used in subjects such as biology, philosophy and social studies.
Target group: pupils in primary and secondary education
Prevention Girls’ Circumcision (FGM) teaching toolkit Rutgers/Pharos, 2009
Guidelines on the identification of female circumcision
The purpose of the guidelines on the identification of female circumcision is to strengthen the role of teachers in identifying FGM. The guide will assist them in better recognizing signs of a circumcision that is imminent, or has already been performed.
Target group: teachers, counselors and care coordinators in primary and secondary schools
MAP-FGM, the Multisectorial Academic Program to prevent and combat Female Genital Mutilation, has developed a training guide on female genital mutilation. The aim of the multisectoral guide is to incorporate FGM training in the teaching contents of universities. Besides the training guide, MAP-FGM has published an interactive electronic version of the guide. This colorful guide is aimed to make the browsing and the use of the training guide easier. The guide was developed in context of the increasing importance of online academic learning and to aid the expansion of FGM implementation into curricula.
United to End Female Genital Mutilation (UEFGM) –Online Knowledge Platform
The European Knowledge Platform UEFGM, United to End Female Genital Mutilation, is designed for professionals to serve as an information and educational resource center. UEFGM offers a free knowledge platform with easily accessible and culturally appropriate information.