Last reviewed 5 July 2022

New guidance has been issued by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) encouraging agencies to co-operate with each other to protect and support those at risk of, or who have undergone, virginity testing and hymenoplasty.

The procedures were outlawed by the Health and Care Act 2022, which made carrying out, offering and aiding and abetting virginity testing and hymenoplasty illegal.

Virginity Testing and Hymenoplasty: Multi-agency Guidance gives advice for chief executives, directors, senior managers, front-line professionals within agencies and anyone else who may come into contact with women and girls affected by virginity testing and hymenoplasty, with the aim of preventing the procedures and acting as an aid to frontline professionals and managers in order to tackle harmful myths that surround virginity and sexuality.

The non-statutory guidance aims to provide strategic guidance for people leading and working in organisations which come into contact with women and girls, or third parties exercising public protection functions on behalf of those persons or organisations.

It also gives advice and support to frontline professionals who have responsibilities to safeguard and support women and girls, helping to identify when a girl or woman, or a member of her family may be at risk of virginity testing and/or hymenoplasty, and responding appropriately to safeguard them.

As well as this, the guidance helps to identify when a girl or woman may have been subjected to a virginity test and/or hymenoplasty and how to respond appropriately.

It does not replace existing safeguarding guidance. More information is available at GOV.UK website.