- Child protection laws
- Child protection training
- Mandatory reporting
- Australian Research
- FGM and Australian Law
- International research
- Training in support of
needs of survivors
- FGM education for
- Clitoral Restoration
This means that teachers, nurses, doctors, social workers and other professionals who are working with girls at risk must learn about the danger signs of FGM and be able to act on concerns without recriminations.
It is not racist to speak out against female genital mutilation.
It IS racist to NOT protect a girl who is at risk of child abuse because of her colour or her background.
No FGM Australia consulted the “top 8” universities in Australia, and just two universities reported that female genital mutilation was included in the Medicine curriculum for training doctors. None of the health professional or education courses included FGM as part of the training, even as part of the mandatory reporting training.
There are resources available through the UK however which have a child protection focus and which are provided below:
End The Fear
The END FGM European Campaign:
London Safeguarding Children Board FGM resources
FGM is not ‘typical’ child abuse however and many people in Australia who are mandatory reporters of child abuse such as teachers, nurses, doctors or social workers may not be aware of the signs to look for in order to safeguard a girl from FGM.
Also, as FGM is such a hidden problem, often not spoken about openly in the communities in which it is practiced, and hidden in that it involves the private parts of a girl, there is a great risk that FGM could happen secretly to girls and no one would know about it.
Currently female genital mutilation is not included in any mandatory protection training in any state or territory.
In Victoria, legislation was passed in 2014 which required EVERY adult who was concerned about a child at risk of sexual abuse to be mandated to report this abuse. Female genital mutilation is the purposeful mutilation of a child’s sexual organs and as such is both physical abuse and sexual abuse.
Here are the mandatory reporting guidelines for each state.
There is little research which informs us about prevalence of female genital mutilation in Australia.
There are several resources which have been produced including literature reviews.
Here is our submission to the Victorian Royal Commission which outlines the elements of the research which have been under-reported in Australia leading to a perception that there is less of a danger than there really is.
Qualitative research on perceptions of female genital mutilation in:
Female genital mutilation has been outlawed in every state and territory of Australia.
The laws were reviewed by the Attorney General in 2013 and recommendations made in order to improve consistency across states.
Professor Ben Mathews provides a discussion of the Australian FGM laws in this paper.
His view is that there is an absolute human right which must be respected when it comes to female genital mutilation.
“Although FGM remains widely practiced and there is much progress yet to be made before its eradication, the rights-based approach which has grown in strength embodies a marked shift in cultural power which reflects progress in women’s and children’s rights in the Western world, but which is now being applied in a different cultural context.”
Ben Mathews, 2013.
The University of Sydney in collaboration with UTS has also recently created an elearning module for professionals working with women who may be affected by FGM. This will be launched shortly on the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) website.The National Education Toolkit for FGM/C is a resource for health professionals working with survivors of female genital mutilation.