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Scotland’s National Action Plan to Tackle Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) 2016-2020

FGM has been illegal in Scotland since 1985 and it is considered a form of violence against women and girls and a violation of their human rights internationally. It is an extremely harmful practice with devastating short and long-term health consequences for girls and women.

Equally Safe is Scotland’s strategy to tackle all forms of violence against women and girls, including FGM. The aim of Equally Safe is to prevent and eradicate violence against women and girls, create a strong and flourishing Scotland where all individuals are equally safe and respected, and where women and girls live free from abuse – and the attitudes and behaviours that help perpetuate it.

Therefore our approach to tackling FGM is aligned with the overarching priorities of the Equally Safe strategy. The purpose of this National Action Plan is to foster an environment of prevention in Scotland and to improve the welfare and quality of life of FGM survivors, with a focus on the linked areas of prevention, protecting girls at risk of FGM; and provision of appropriate support and sensitive services for survivors of FGM.

FGM reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. In addition to the severe pain during and in the weeks following the cutting, women who have undergone FGM experience various long-term effects including physical, sexual and psychological. FGM will continue to be an issue in Scotland until communities themselves choose to abandon the practice and we recognise that in order to find a solution to eradicate FGM, working with potentially affected communities is vital to breaking the cycle of violence. The views of communities affected by FGM must shape and inform future policy and service provision.

To ensure we are doing everything we possibly can to tackle this violence, both at home in Scotland and abroad, the Scottish Government is committed to working with all of its partners in the statutory and third sectors and potentially affected communities to progress a range of interventions targeted at preventing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).