Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) occurs in Australia even though it is considered a non-practising country. A report by No FGM Australia states that more than 83,000 female immigrants in Australia underwent or are at risk of undergoing FGM/C. FGM/C constitutes a risk also for girls born in Australia.
As highlighted in the Review of Australia’s Female Genital Mutilaton legal framework, all Australian States and Territories have passed criminal legislation banning FGM/C, which applies extraterritorially. However, FGM/C is still practised in the country. One reason could be that penalties for performing the procedure are not consistent; ranging from 7 to 21 years prison sentences.
Examples of passed legislation include the Australian Capital Territory’s Crimes (Amendment) Act (No. 3) 1995, New South Wales’s Crimes Act 1900 (amended in 1994), the Northern Territory’s Criminal Code, South Australia’s Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (amended in 1995) and Victoria’s Crimes (Female Genital Mutilation) Act 1996.
Australia ratified the ICESCR in 1975, the CEDAW in 1983 and the CRC in 1990. For Australian case law concerning FGM/C, see our case law page.
Anti-FGM/C Organisations in Australia
Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health NETFA Project
Address: see website for regional programmes
Tel.: see website for regional contacts
Email: see website for regional programme contacts
Under the auspices of MCWH, the NETFA website provides information about dedicated FGM/C programmes operating in Australian states and territories. Programmes vary across regions and offer a range of services, including community education, workshops, advocacy, counselling services and hospital referral services for women affected by FGM/C.
NSW Education Program on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Building 55 B, Cumberland Hospital, 5 Fleet Street, North Parramatta NSW 2151
Tel.: (02) 9840 3877
The NSW Education Program on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a state-wide programme aiming to prevent the practice of FGM/C in NSW and to minimise the health and psychological impact of the practice for women, girls and their families affected by, or at risk of, FGM/C. They offer training for health professionals as well as a community education programme. In a one-day workshop the professional education programme targets health care professionals, counsellors, youth workers, education and welfare workers and police. Training offered covers clinical case management and psychosocial counselling responses to FGM/C in order to equip workers to provide care in a sensitive, non-judgemental manner to women and girls affected by FGM/C. The Women’s Health And Traditions In a New Society programme is an 11-session education programme conducted by bi-lingual community workers with women in the target communities. It aims to explore women’s health issues, including the health aspects of FGM/C and the NSW law on FGM/C. There is also a 7-session education programme conducted by male bi-lingual community workers with men from the target communities: Men’s Health and Traditions allows men to confront their own health issues, experience with their wives and FGM/C and their responsibility in protecting their daughters from the practice of FGM/C.
No FGM Australia
Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide
Tel.: 0427 058564
No FGM Australia provides resources for health professionals, educators and members of the public who may be aware of girls at risk of FGM/C, well as for parents who are being put under pressure to have their daughters undergo FGM/C. They are able to connect people to the appropriate authorities to provide safeguarding for children if necessary. No FGM Australia also engages in raising community awareness through public lectures of local and international experts on FGM/C, and advocates for support services for those who have been subjected to FGM/C.
We have no FGM/C Lawyer for Australia, but would welcome suggestions. Please contact us.