|FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION
When practitioners come across evidence of female genital mutilation there are a number of excellent resources that should be consulted before taking any action.
In particular, note the following issues:
Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is illegal in Australia regardless of age
Girls and young women at risk of FGM/C need to be safeguarded
Female relative of a girl or woman who has undergone FGM/C may be at risk
There may be plans afoot to remove a girl from Australia to undergo FGM/C.
Under Victorian law provisions for duty of care, care providers must exercise reasonably care to prevent service users and others from foreseeable injury – this applies to FGM/C.
Note also that all professional have a responsibility to inform their clients of the illegal and harmful aspects of FGM/C in a culturally sensitive manner, ensuring that the woman or girl does not feel threatened or frightened by what is being told to them.
The provisions for confidentiality and disclosure are the same as those laid down in the Victorian Service Coordination Manual and in particular in the SCTT Consent to Share Information template.
There are also mandatory reporting requirements for young women (up to the age of 18).
For a step-by-step guide and more detailed information to the above, see the Care Plan Flow Chart.
A Guide to Service Coordination published by Family Planning Victoria will provide you with more detailed informaton
For background reading, see A Tradition in Translation: Female genital mutilation/cutting, also published by Family Planning Victoria
IT IS VERY STRONGLY RECOMMENDED THAT PRACTITIONERS INFORM THEMSELVES ABOUT THESE ISSUES BEFORE TAKING ANY ACTION
for all documents referred to above.
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