Female genital mutilation is a criminal offence under section 45 of the Crimes Act 1900.
Under that section, female genital mutilation is defined as the “excision, infibulation or mutilation of any part of the labia majora or labia minora or the clitoris of another person.”
The maximum penalty for this offence is 21 years imprisonment.
However, this is the absolute maximum which will only apply in the most serious cases.
You could also be charged with this offence and face the same penalties if you are found to have aided, abetted, counselled or procured a person to perform these acts.
There are, however, exceptions to the law against female genital mutilation:
- Where a medical practitioner performs a surgical operation upon a person which is necessary for their health;
- Where a medical professional or authorised professional performs a medical procedure for medical purposes in connection with a person in labour, or someone who has just given birth.
- Sexual reassignment procedures performed by medical practitioners.
It is important to note that a person’s consent cannot be used as a defence in relation to charges of genital mutilation.
If you’ve been charged with this offence, our specialist criminal defence team can help you understand the law and your options.
If you are going to court for Female Genital Mutilation, call Sydney Criminal Lawyers 24/7 on (02) 9261 8881 to arrange a free first conference with an experienced defence lawyer who will advise you of your options and the best way forward, and fight to secure the optimal outcome.
Read on for more information.
Section 45 of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with the offence of ‘Female Genital Mutilation’ and reads as follows:
45 Prohibition of female genital mutilation
(1) A person who:
(a) excises, infibulates or otherwise mutilates the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person, or
(b) aids, abets, counsels or procures a person to perform any of those acts on another person,
is liable to imprisonment for 21 years.
(3) It is not an offence against this section to perform a surgical operation if that operation:
(a) is necessary for the health of the person on whom it is performed and is performed by a medical practitioner, or
(b) is performed on a person in labour or who has just given birth, and for medical purposes connected with that labour or birth, by a medical practitioner or authorised professional, or
(c) is a sexual reassignment procedure and is performed by a medical practitioner.
(4) In determining whether an operation is necessary for the health of a person only matters relevant to the medical welfare of the person are to be taken into account.
(5) It is not a defence to a charge under this section that the person mutilated by or because of the acts alleged to have been committed consented to the acts.
(6) This section applies only to acts occurring after the commencement of the section.
(7) In this section: “authorised professional” means:
(a) a registered midwife, or
(b) a midwifery student, or
(c) in relation to an operation performed in a place outside Australia-a person authorised to practise midwifery by a body established under the law of that place having functions similar to the functions of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, or
(d) a medical student.
“medical practitioner” , in relation to an operation performed in a place outside Australia, includes a person authorised to practise medicine by a body established under the law of that place having functions similar to the Medical Board of Australia.
“medical student” means:
(a) a person registered as a student in the medical profession under the Health PractitionerRegulation National Law, or
(b) in relation to an operation performed in a place outside Australia-a person undergoing a course of training with a view to being authorised to be a medical practitioner in that place.
“midwifery student” means:
(a) a person registered as a student in the nursing and midwifery profession under the HealthPractitioner Regulation National Law, or
(b) in relation to an operation performed in a place outside Australia-a person undergoing a course of training with a view to being authorised to be a midwife practitioner in that place.
“sexual reassignment procedure” means a surgical procedure to alter the genital appearance of a person to the appearance (as nearly as practicable) of the opposite sex to the sex of the person.
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