Protection for those at risk of FGM - consultation response

In August 2019 RCPCH Child Protection Subcommittee (Scotland) responded to the Scottish Parliament’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee Call for views on Female Genital Mutilation (Protection and Guidance) (Scotland) Bill.

RCPCH Child Protection Subcommittee (Scotland) generally supports the introduction of the new Bill aimed at protecting those children who are at risk from female genital mutilation and offering guidance to those who work in areas where children at risk may present which is currently being scrutinised by the Equalities and Human Right Committee at the Scottish Parliament.  

See consultation

Our response

  • Supporting the introduction of a specific FGM order to add further clarity and improve care for children
  • Supporting the introduction of a failure to protect charge in relation to child abuse of all types, including FGM
  • Raising their concern with regards to the introduction of the “failure to protect a girl at risk of FGM” order, which if not sought could be seen as mitigation
  • Not all methods of harm to women and children need to be named in legislation relating to FGM as they are already covered by existing legislation

Our recommendations

  • Anonymity of victims should not be included in legislation as it would lead to a more complication procedure and if not sought, seen as mitigation by the media to identify victims
  • Strengthening of existing legislation to impose sanctions on media outlets that continue to publish the names of victims
  • The introduction of a duty on all professionals to follow child protection procedures where a girl is considered at risk of FGM rather than a duty to notify the police
  • New legal guidance is published clarifying which crimes, not named as a specific offences, are crimes that can be charged under existing law

We respond to a wide range of consultations to ensure that the College’s position, and ultimately children’s health, is represented. Members can get involved in current consultations by contacting the Scottish team: