Responding to Female Genital Mutillation in Scotland: Multi-Agency Guidance

The Scottish Government is committed to preventing and ending all forms of violence against women, as outlined in Equally Safe: Scotland’s strategy for preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls (2016). This includes working with statutory and third sector agencies and communities to tackle FGM.

This guidance on FGM provides a framework within which agencies and practitioners can develop and agree processes for working collaboratively and individually to promote the safety and wellbeing of women and girls. It highlights the main responsibilities for agencies and individuals, and promotes a clear and consistent approach across all agencies and areas. It supplements other guidance such as the National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland (2014)ivand agencies’ own policies and procedures on FGM.

Principles of the guidance
The principles of the guidance are:

  • FGM is illegal in Scotland.
  • The safety and welfare of the child is paramount.
  • All agencies must act in the interests and the rights of the child as stated in the UN Convention (1989).
  • FGM is extremely harmful. Women who have experienced FGM should be treated as survivors of gender-based violence and should be treated with respect and compassion.
  • Professional practice means not letting personal fears of being thought ‘racist’ or ‘discriminatory’ compromise the duty to provide effective support and protection.
  • Professional practice means asking questions, whether or not they cause embarrassment. FGM may be a sensitive subject, but it is also a criminal offence.
  • Health, education, police, social work and third sector services must provide accessible, highquality and sensitive interventions.
  • Competent assessments (as outlined in child protection and adult support and protection guidance) should guide professional decisions and plans. These must be sensitive to ethnicity, culture, gender, religion and sexual orientation. They should not stigmatise or make assumptions about the girl or woman affected, or her community.
  • FGM is a ‘cultural practice’ which, like many traditions, is difficult to shift. Ending FGM means working closely and respectfully with families and communities.

Published : 27th November 2017*

Publisher : The Scottish Government  [ More From This Publisher ]

Rights : Crown Copyright

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* Although BASW has prepared the information contained within Social Work Knowledge with all due care and updates the information regularly, BASW does not warrant or represent that the information is free from errors or omission. Whilst the information is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the information. The information may change without notice and BASW is not in any way liable for the accuracy of any information printed and stored or in any way interpreted and used by a user.