UK: Update on the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003

British Medical Association - BMA
In January 2005, the Scottish Equal Opportunities Committee took oral evidence on the Prohibition of FGM (Scotland) Bill from a number of health organisations and agencies representing children.
The Royal Colleges of Midwives and of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists were among those giving views.
BMA Scotland has submitted written evidence supporting the Bill which will bring Scotland into line with legislation (the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003) in the rest of the UK.

FGM is already illegal in Scotland under the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 but this legislation will also prohibit patients being taken abroad for the procedure. As in the rest of the UK, a person found guilty of an offence under this legislation would face up to 14 years imprisonment. Since the passing of the 2003 FGM Act, there do not appear to have been any prosecutions but this maybe partly due to lack of awareness about the legislation.

Therefore the BMA is calling for a programme to raise awareness and about the sources of information available to communities that normally practise FGM. UNCEF and the UN have called for asylum status to be granted to girls and young women who flee their country to escape FGM but in practice very few women worldwide have been granted asylum on those grounds.

The BMA has also called, therefore, for recognition that a serious risk of FGM is legitimate grounds for asylum status.