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Female Genital Mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation is an offence under Section 45 of the Crimes Act 1900 which carries a maximum penalty of 21 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You excised, infibulated or otherwise mutilated the whole or any part of the labia majora, labia minora or clitoris of another person, or
  2. You aided, abetted, counselled or procured another person to do so

The fact the other person consented is not a defence to the charge.

It is not an offence to perform a surgical operation which causes female genital mutilation where:

  1. It is done by a medical practitioner and is necessary for the medical welfare of the other person, or
  1. It is done by a medical practitioner or authorised professional on a person in labour or who just gave birth and is connected with that labour or birth, or
  2. It is done by a medical practitioner and is a sexual reassignment procedure

A ‘medical practitioner’ is a person authorised under the law to practise medicine.

An ‘authorised professional’ includes:

  1. A registered midwife
  2. A midwifery student, and
  3. A medical student

A ‘sexual reassignment procedure’ is that which alters the genital appearance to that of the opposite sex.

Duress is a defence to the charge.

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