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Female Genital Mutilation Debate, 5/11/02 [E/W/S/NI]

A debate asking what progress has been made since 1/1/02 towards putting an end to female circumcision in the United Kingdom took place in the House of Lords on 5 November 2002. [Hansard Col. 565-567]

Baroness Rendell of Babergh asked, ‘What progress has been made since 1/1/02 towards putting an end to female circumcision in the United Kingdom

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health replied:

  • Female genital mutilation is illegal in this country

  • Government continue to educate the practising communities to abandon female genital mutilation

  • Government has increased funding for FORWARD, the leading organisation working in this field

  • Have been exploring how to strengthen the current legislation governing that practice

  • Aware of preventative measures in operation in other member states in the European Union to prevent parents from taking small daughters out of the country for purposes of genital mutilation

  • Department of Health will be obtaining information about the successes of other countries in dealing with this practice

  • It is an offence to take young girls abroad for female mutilation if it is also an offence in the country to which those people are travelling

  • Not all countries have made the practice of female mutilation an offence

  • If a local authority believes a child might be taken abroad so that mutilation can be carried out, it is obliged under the Children Act to decide whether it should take action to safeguard the childs welfare

  • Two doctors have been struck off: one for undertaking female genital mutilation in 1993 and the other for offering to perform the operation in 2000 [Col.566]

  • There are a number of specialist clinics in the NHS which have trained staff to deal with girls and women which offer reversal surgery, further research is being undertaken into the scope of the problem. Government will examine the scale of NHS provision and the extent it needs to encourage statutory agencies to collaborate more

  • FORWARD estimates approximately 74,000 first-generation African immigrant women in the UK have undergone female mutilation

    • Estimates 7,000 girls under the age of 16 who live in practising communities may be at risk

    • Need to redouble our efforts in terms of education and support from statutory agencies

  • Female Genital Mutilation is not illegal in certain countries therefore, in law the Government cannot take action against parents or other adults who take young girls from this country to those countries

Download Female Genital Mutilation Debate, 5/11/02 [E/W/S/NI]

For a printed version of the House of Lords, the debate can be found on Vol. No. 640, Part No. 200 for Tuesday 5 November 2002.

Parliamentary Enquiries for the House of Lords:
Tel. 020 7219 3107

Further Information

  1. Female Genital Mutilation Debate