Female genital mutilation (FGM) also known as cutting or female circumcision; refers to “procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons”.
It is practiced in 42 countries especially Africa, Middle East and South East Asia, and is usually carried out before a child reaches puberty which can result in lifelong physical and psychological complications.
FGM has been illegalised in the UK since 1985 and carries a maximum penalty of 14 years of imprisonment and/or a fine. There is also a mandatory reporting duty on those working in a regulated profession to notify the police of cases of FGM in under 18s.
Female genital mutilation protection order (FGMPO) is a protective, civil court order which can contain legally binding conditions and directions to protect the (potential) victim. For example, it may include the surrender of passports; making a survivor of FGM available for medical treatment and not to harass, pester or molest the (potential) victim, directly or indirectly.
An application for a FGMPO can be made by the person who is to be protected by the order; a relevant third party; or any other person with permission of the court such as friends or family members. In appropriate circumstances a FGMPO may be made without notice being given to the respondent(s). A FGMPO may be made for a specified period or indefinitely until varied or discharged. A breach of a FGMPO is a criminal offence with a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment. Alternatively, a civil route can be pursued by making an application to the family court for contempt of court, which can involve two years’ imprisonment.
Biscoes is committed to protect and safeguard victims and potential victims of FGM and we are there to advise, assist and represent in an application for an FGMPO (or defending the same); whether or not legal aid is available.