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

hungarianelephant's Avatar Jump to comment 70 by hungarianelephant

Comment 67 by ElizabethN :

Assault charges require evidence of lack of consent by either the victim, if she is able to give that evidence, or from the persons who at the time had the ability to give consent such as the parents or guardians. Even if their reluctance to do so on religious or cultural grounds were not enough, they would hardly be likely to be helpful with any authorities given the potential consequences of criminal action against them.

That is not the case, actually. Consent is not a defence to a charge of grievous bodily harm, or wounding, or assault occasioning actual bodily harm (R v. Brown - google "Operation Spanner". Not for the faint-hearted.) It's questionable whether a minor can consent to even common assault.

Where you do have an evidential problem is in showing who did it.

As usual in these kind of debates, most posters simply assume that the absence of prosecutions is due to cultural sensitivities, or some other euphemistic nonsense. I like to put the boot into the police as much as the next person, but we simply don't know whether this stands up to scrutiny. There are 166 complaints - a pathetic number compared to what we believe the true scale of the problem to be, and that in itself is troubling - but we know very little about how far they got.

Who made the complaints? If they are made by third parties without the victim's involvement, then you don't have mutilated genitals to present to the court, and it is like trying to get a murder conviction without a corpse - legally possible but insanely difficult. If by the victims, were they dropped? When? Why? Did the CPS find a lack of evidence in any of these cases? Was it felt that there was no public interest in breaking up the victim's family?

Anyone in the UK fancy doing a freedom of information request?

Tue, 12 Jun 2012 11:07:25 UTC | #947029