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← Stop female genital mutilation in the UK! - Avaaz.org petition

ElizabethN's Avatar Jump to comment 69 by ElizabethN

Comment 67 by Ignorant Amos

A number of your comments above are predicated on evidence being readily available. My point, having been involved in not dissimilar matters, is that where the girl's evidence is needed, even if she has made a complaint, she becomes reluctant to do so because of the fear of losing the only real support she knows - her family and community.

in fact, the UK child welfare services can be over zealous in incidents where it is unwarranted and not zealous enough where children are at risk.

This is of concern here too although the available services and how they are delivered here various from State to State.

No, we don't have this problem with other forms of child abuse

I am not sure if we are at cross purposes here. My comment here is really an asside that because of our family law here which allows the imposition of and Courts which actively do impose a religion on a child (an abhorance in itself in my view) we could be opening up opportunities for girls to be placed at risk. In particular becuase for a Court to make such a finding there has to be been a dispute between the parents about the child's religious up bringing.

Sorry Elizabeth, I realise you are on side and just playing devils advocate, but this is nonsense. Are you suggesting that babies that have been sexually assaulted must face their abuser in order to attain justice? How do you account for the numerous cases of abuse of babies that come to light? It's highly unlikely the abuser is admitting there crime and a child too young to realise is also not likely to complain. It's the injuries that tell the stories.

Yes, I am on side and no I am not just playing devil's advocate. I think it was quite clear that I was not referring to babies in that I said "if she is able to give that evidence". I had erroneously thought that might be plainer than to say "if she has legal capacity". I deal with some of the matters you refer to on a regular basis here in Australia and so appreciate some of the difficulties.

Assualt at common law or under statue requires proof of lack of consent. That lack of consent can be inferred by the evidence such as the stiching example you refer to. However, FGM comes in various forms and not all involve stitching. Having looked at the UK legislation briefly today to compare it with the various legislation in this country (being different in every State) the reason for the need for the evidence from either a child who is old enough at the time of the wounds being inflicted to be considered able to give useful evidence or for the person(s) who could have given authority at the time that the wounds were inflicted is to close off any defence.

For example, the type of FGM may be such that it could have been performed for medical reasons. Both at common law and specifically set out in the UK statute this is a defence and the only way to negate that defence, which is the responsibility of the prosecution, is to produce evidence of lack of consent.

The remainder we seem to be in furious agreement on.

Tue, 12 Jun 2012 09:37:32 UTC | #947021