Question S4W-10766: Prevention of Female Genital Mutilation

Bill Walker: To ask the Scottish Government how it protects girls at risk of female genital mutilation, in light of the Home Office’s estimation that over 20,000 children under 15 in the UK are at risk each year.

Date Lodged: 31/10/2012
Answered by Kenny MacAskill (Cabinet Secretary for Justice) (15/11/2012): The Scottish Government takes the issue of female genital mutilation (FGM) very seriously and sees it as a form of physical abuse of women and girls and a violation of their human rights. The Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Act 2005 made it illegal to perform or arrange to have female genital mutilation carried out in Scotland or abroad, and carries a maximum penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment and fine. Dedicated guidance to aid practitioners in the identification, assessment and co-ordinated management of females at risk is provided in the National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2010.

The Government considers prevention as the most effective way of protecting girls at risk of FGM. A number of methods are used to prevent it: 

  • Working closely with minority ethnic community groups and organisations that support victims of FGM and girls at risk, raising awareness, empowering women and increasing confidence to report. The Scottish Government has funded Saheliya, a minority ethnic women’s organisation in Edinburgh, £225,000 over the three years 2012–2015 to work with women from communities affected by FGM.
  • Raising awareness that FGM is a harmful traditional practice which has serious implications on health and wellbeing of women and girls.
  • Publicising and disseminating information, training presentations and sponsoring of a screening of a film about FGM.

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