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New law on notifying female genital mutilation

02 December 2015
Volume 23 · Issue 12

A new legal requirement to notify the police of cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) has now come into effect. The word ‘cutting’ is sometimes added to the word ‘mutilation’ so that the initials may be seen as ‘FGM/C’. The new law, which applies in England and Wales, commenced on 31 October 2015, and requires doctors, nurses and midwives to inform the police if they believe FGM has been carried out on a girl under the age of 18 years. The requirement also includes teachers and social workers (social care workers in Wales). The Act does not apply in Scotland or Northern Ireland, although political pressure exists to tackle this issue. In March 2015, funding was announced for community engagement projects in Scotland, which are designed to raise awareness, pay for training, and provide for support services.

The new law complements other measures, such as Parental Liability for FGM, and specific protection orders introduced earlier in 2015 that are designed to prevent families from sending or taking a daughter abroad to have the procedure performed. These are known as FGM Protection Orders, and come under the remit of the Serious Crime Act 2015 [s.73] (Ministry of Justice/Home Office, 2015). So why is a new law needed, and what effect will it have on midwives?

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