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Female genital mutilation (FGM)

Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes all procedures involving the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or any other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It is also be known as 'female circumcision' or 'cutting' and has many other names.

It is illegal in the UK. In England, regulated health and social care professionals and teachers must report ‘known’ cases of FGM in those under the age of 18 to the police. 

Financial abuse

Behaviours experienced by adults at risk of theft, fraud, internet scamming, coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs or arrangements, including in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.

see economic abuse for more detail.

Forced marriage

A forced marriage is a marriage in which either or both spouses do not consent, or lack the capacity to consent, to the marriage and duress is involved. This can include physical, sexual, psychological, financial and emotional pressure. 

Forcing someone to marry is a criminal offence in England, Wales, and Scotland.


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are data protection regulations brought in through the European Parliament and Council. The Data Protection Act 2018 brought the provisions of the GDPR into UK Law.


In legal terms harm is defined as

‘any harm done to a person by the acts or omissions of another. Injury may include physical hurt as well as damage to reputation or dignity, loss of a legal right or breach of contract.’

Therefore, harm is not only defined as ill-treatment but also impairing the physical, mental health, and behavioural development of an individual.


The law defines two types of harassment.

  • Under the Equality Act, this is unwanted behaviour that you find offensive, where the other person’s behaviour is because you have a protected characteristic or associated with someone who does.
  • Under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 criminal law, this is 'causing alarm or distress' and 'putting people in fear of violence'.

Health and wellbeing board (HWB)

HWBs bring into one forum representatives from health, social services and the local community to decide what the main public health needs of the local population are, and to determine how best to meet them in an integrated and holistic manner. HWBs provide oversight of the local health and care system.

Honour based violence

'honour based' violence (HBV) is defined by the CPS as a crime or incident which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community. To avoid suggesting that it is genuinely 'honour based' the phrase 'so called honour based violence' is often used.

Human trafficking

The UN Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, adopted in 2000 defines human trafficking as:

'referring to to the recruitment, transportation, transfer, and harbouring of someone with the intention of threatening them or using force and or other forms of coercion, and abusing the power or of a position of vulnerability, and achieving coerced consent of a person having control over someone else by giving and receiving of payments or benefits, for the purpose of exploitation.'

Independent domestic violence adviser (IDVA)

Trained specialists who provide a service to victims, who are at high risk of harm from intimate partners, ex-partners or family members, with the aim of securing their safety and the safety of their children. You may hear this pronounced as a word 'idva' more often that hearing the full title or the acronym.

Independent mental capacity advocate (IMCA)

IMCAs represent people who do not have the capacity to make particular and significant decisions, this includes decisions about where they live and about critical medical treatment.

Independent mental health advocacy (IMHA)

IMHAs support people being treated in hospital or somewhere else under the Mental Health Act.


An inquiry happens when an organisation wants/needs to examine what happened during an incident/several incidents, and wants to know what can be improved to stop this happening again.


When concerns are raised to the local authority about a child they investigate to find out if the child is at immediate risk of harm. If not, they carry out an ‘assessment’  to find out what needs the child has, whether their needs are being met and what support is needed.

Other organisations may also carry out investigations for their own purposes.

Joint strategic needs assessment

A document produced by local authorities and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) which assesses the current and future health, care and wellbeing needs of the local community to inform local decision making.

Page last edited Oct 03, 2019

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