FGM


FGM protection order in child’s best interests – Court of Appeal

13 July 2020 by

A (A Child) (Rev 1) [2020] EWCA 731 (15 June 2020)

This was an appeal by the secretary of state against a decision of the President of the Family Division concerning the exercise of the family court’s jurisdiction to make a female genital mutilation protection order (FGMPO) under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 Sch.2 Pt 1 para.1. The child concerned (“A”), was under imminent threat of deportation to Bahrain or potentially Sudan.  The original FGM protection order in relation to A was made by Newton J in December 2019. He said that

It is difficult to think of a clear or more serious case where the risk to A of FGM is so high.

Section 2 of the Female Genital Mutliation Act establishes the offence of assisting a girl to mutilate her own genitalia, where a person

aids, abets, counsels or procures a girl to excise, infibulate or otherwise mutilate the whole or any part of her own labia majora, labia minora or clitoris.

Section 3 extends this to “assisting a non-UK person to mutilate overseas a girl’s genitalia”.

FGMPOS offer a legal means to protect and safeguard victims and potential victims of FGM. They are granted by the family court and are unique to each case. They contain conditions to protect a victim or potential victim from FGM, including, for example, surrendering a passport to prevent the person at risk from being taken abroad for FGM or requirements that no one arranges for FGM to be performed on the person being protected.

After the order is issued, the police receive a copy, together with a statement showing that the respondents and any other persons directed by the court have been served with the order or informed of its terms.

In this case the President of the Family Division had held that in exercising its discretion about making an FGM protection order, a family court was not bound to take into account, even as a starting point, a previous assessment of risk of FGM made by the Immigration and Asylum Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal in determining an asylum application based upon the risk of FGM upon return.


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Male circumcision can be part of “reasonable parenting”, but no form of FGM is acceptable – Family Court

18 January 2015 by

female-genital-mutilation-fgmB and G (Children) (No.2) [2015] EWFC 3 – read judgment

Contemplating the details of different forms of female genital mutilation is not for the faint hearted. But that is what the courts and the relevant experts have to do, not only to protected alleged victims but to defend the interests of those suspected of perpetuating the procedure, whether it is a question of criminal liability under the FGM Act 2003, or determining that a threshold of harm has been passed so as to initiate care proceedings if the victim is a child.

This case concerned the latter; although in the end the court was not satisfied that the evidence was sufficient to satisfy the “significant harm” requirement under the Children Act 1989, Sir James Munby P considered the case sufficiently important to explore the inclusion of FGM, and, more controversially, male circumcision, in the array of cultural and religious rituals that can trigger the state’s intervention in family life.

These were “deep waters” which the judge was “hesitant to enter”, yet, enter them he did, all the better for the clarification of this difficult issue in care proceedings.
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