New law to prevent female genital mutilation
Protection orders proposed under new Bill.
Women and girls considered at risk from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) will receive enhanced protection under proposals in a new Bill.
The legislation would introduce Protection Orders specifically designed to safeguard women and children who might find themselves under pressure to undergo FGM.
The Female Genital Mutilation (Protection and Guidance) (Scotland) Bill will also see statutory guidance issued for professionals and agencies working in this area. This will help to ensure a more consistent and holistic multi-agency response across services to victims of FGM and those at risk of the practice.
The introduction of this legislation builds on the commitment made within the Scottish Government’s National Action Plan to prevent and eradicate FGM and to strengthen the law in this area.
Equalities Minister Christina McKelvie said:
“Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a deeply abhorrent practice and a fundamental violation of the human rights of women and girls. It is a physical manifestation of deep-rooted gender inequality.
“FGM is already illegal. This Bill will provide for increased protection with the introduction of protection orders and putting guidance on a statutory footing to improve the response of services.”
FGM survivor Neneh Bojang from Edinburgh said:
“I was just nine years old when I was subjected to FGM. It was excruciating and has caused me pain throughout my life. If this Bill prevents even just one woman from going through the same, then in my eyes, it will be a success.”
Female Genital Mutilation has been a specific criminal offence in the UK since the passage of the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985. The Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Act 2005 repealed and re-enacted the provisions of the 1985 Act.
FGM is a procedure which involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
A court will be able to make an FGM Protection Order to protect a person at risk of being subjected to FGM. An application for a Protection Order will be able to be made by a person at risk or victim, a local authority, Police Scotland, the Lord Advocate or any other person with the permission of the court.