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Comments by ElizabethN

Go to: 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

Go to: Stop female genital mutilation in the UK! - Avaaz.org petition

ElizabethN's Avatar Jump to comment 67 by ElizabethN

Comment 36 by Richard Dawkins

I received an email confirming that I had signed the petition. If you have not received a similar email then I suggest trying again.

To RDF thank you for providing this information and link to the petition. I have forwarded the link to a number of women’s interest groups here in Australia similarly seeking their support. It continues to be a growing problem in Australia particularly because of the increasing immigration and refugee intake from countries where such practices are accepted or common place. See the link below for a recent news item here.

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1648263/Genital-mutilation-challenging-for-Aussie-health-w

Comment 5 by EvN and Comment 22 Ignorant Amos

There are many reasons why such matters are difficult to prosecute not least of which is the pressure placed on the girl to conform and not be ostracised by her religious or cultural community, and even more of a concern here where the family law allows or rather requires the Court to impose a particular religious upbringing on a child where there is a dispute between the parents or guardians.

Another is the difficulty of obtaining the supporting evidence. Notoriously these crimes occur outside the country that would seek to prosecute and must rely to some extent on either foreign evidence, which given the countries to which the girls are taken, they either have no Interpol arrangement or a Police to Police MoU in order to obtain that evidence, or alternatively are reliant on evidence from a reluctant or closed community. The issues faced by investigators in these matters are not dissimilar to those dealing with sex trafficking issues and sex tourism (another big problem here).

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.

There are mandatory reporting requirements that should result in the involvement in the UK of the child protection authorities, but I am unable to comment on how effective they are at removing a child from that environment. Although I have undertaken many matters with children at risk in Australia I am unaware of any that have involved claims of future risk to a girl child arising from genital mutilation that has occurred.

I would not want to think that concern about offending religious groups prevented such action and I have no evidence either way but I do have concerns that here we do seem concerned at giving such offence.

Tue, 12 Jun 2012 08:04:24 UTC | #947006