MSPs support general principles of FGM protection legislation

Date: 9th December 2019
Category: Basic Health and Welfare, Equal protection from violence

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The Equalities and Human Rights Committee has voted to endorse the general principles of the Female Genital Mutilation (Protection and Guidance) Bill at Stage One, and made a number of recommendations. 

The Female Genital Mutilation (Protection and Guidance) (Scotland) Bill will create a new court order, a Female Genital Mutilation Protection Order (FGMPO), which can impose conditions or requirements on a person to protect a girl or woman from FGM, or to prevent further harm if FGM has already occurred. Breach of an FGMPO will be a criminal offence, with a penalty of up to five years’ imprisonment for those convicted on indictment.

In its stage 1 report on the Bill, the Committee has agreed that FGMPOs would strengthen protections, particularly for 16 to 17-year-olds, for whom existing child protection orders do not apply.

However, the Committee had noted that FGMPOs cannot work without additional support for individuals and families and called on the Scottish Government to detail what further support can be put in place. The Committee also urged Scottish Government to consider what actions can be taken to remove barriers for those seeking legal assistance with FGMPOs, as well as to engage with women, communities and professionals in the development of statutory guidance.