The Scottish Parliament’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee (EHRiC) is seeking views on the Female Genital Mutilation (Protection and Guidance) (Scotland) Bill.
Please note that in most cases your written submission will be published on the Scottish Parliament’s website and may be quoted in the Committee’s report or in Committee meetings (which are public and broadcast).
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The Female Genital Mutilation (Protection and Guidance) (Scotland) Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 29 May 2019. The purpose of the Bill is to create a new protection order related to female genital mutilation (FGM), to protect those at risk of FGM, or to prevent further harm to victims of FGM. The Bill also provides for statutory guidance in relation to FGM, including protection orders.
The Committee would particularly welcome responses on the following questions. If you would like to make a response, you do not need to answer all of these questions and can focus on those that are relevant to or interest you. Please limit your response to no more than four sides of A4.
1. Will protection orders and statutory guidance be more effective in preventing FGM and safeguarding those at risk of FGM than the current approach? Please explain your reasons.
2. What more could the Scottish Government and public services do to strengthen FGM prevention and protection, for example on:
- anonymity of victims
- failure to protect a girl at risk of FGM
- duty to notify the police of FGM
- additional protections
- communicating with communities
3. How will the Bill impact on you, your community or organisation?
4. Please highlight any relevant equalities and human rights issues you would like the Committee to consider, in particular any potential barriers to accessing the provisions of the Bill or any rights which might be advanced or adversely impacted.
The proposals in the Bill are based on similar provisions in the Serious Crime Act 2015 in England and Wales (see sections 70-75). The Serious Crime Act 2015 contained six provisions relating to FGM.
One provision (Section 70) already applies in Scotland. This amended the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Act 2005 to ensure it applied to UK nationals and residents, not just UK nationals and permanent UK residents.
The Scottish Government has consulted on whether to introduce the other five provisions. The Female Genital Mutilation (Protection and Guidance) (Scotland) Bill includes two similar provisions:
- Protection orders
- Statutory guidance
The Scottish Government has chosen not to introduce provisions on:
- Anonymity of victims
- Offence of failing to protect a girl from risk of FGM
- Duty to notify the Police of FGM
The Scottish Government also consulted on other areas which are not in the Bill. They are:
- additional protections in relation to vaginal elongation and breast ironing
- the mandatory reporting practices introduced in England in Wales which mean that health services will seek to record cosmetic genital piercings as a form of FGM, to identify where this has been done in an abusive context.
Your response does not need to cover all of the areas specified and can just focus on those that are relevant to you or your organisation. You are also welcome to provide other information that you feel would be relevant.
The closing date for receipt of submissions is FRIDAY 30 AUGUST.
How to submit your views
If possible, we would be grateful if you could keep your submission to a maximum of 4 sides of A4. Written responses should be sent electronically to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
We welcome written views in English, Gaelic, Scots or any other language. Due to the time required to process and analyse evidence, late submissions will only be accepted with the agreement of the Committee.
Please follow the Committee on Twitter (@SP_EHRiC) or email the Committee at email@example.com for more information.
The Committee intends to take evidence in autumn 2019 and report to Parliament thereafter.
If you cannot submit electronically you may send in a hard copy written submission. If you are sending in a hard copy submission please send them to:
Equalities and Human Rights Committee
Edinburgh EH99 1SP