Female genital mutilation (FGM) according to the World Health Organization, is a procedure that involves the total or partial removal of the external female genital organs for non-medical reasons. With only one conviction to date despite its prevalence within some communities in the country, it is apparent that the law as it stands in England and Wales is ineffectual in tackling FGM, and more must be done. Historically, the law on FGM was purely designed to penalise where an offence had occurred, and while this began to change with the introduction of female genital mutilation protection orders (FGMPO), analysis of the applications for such orders will demonstrate that the majority of girls at risk are not utilising them. It must, therefore, be considered what else can be done to tackle FGM in England and Wales. A multi-agency approach will be proposed, in which a duty to report risk, education and medical examinations are all considered as options available, alongside FGMPOs and criminal sanctions. Though criminal sanctions in relation to perpetrators are not new, proposing positive obligations and criminal sanctions on certain professionals for failing to report, will offer a distinctive contribution to the eradication of FGM.
|Child and Family Law Quarterly
|Accepted/In press - 13 May 2022