Male circumcision can be part of “reasonable parenting”, but no form of FGM is acceptable – Family Court
18 January 2015
B and G (Children) (No.2)  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.
Continue reading →