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An analysis of the implementation of laws with regard to female genital mutilation in Europe

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Abstract

This paper presents results of a survey on legislation regarding female genital mutilation in 15 European member states, as well as the results of a comparative analysis of the implementation of these laws in Belgium, France, Spain, Sweden and the UK. The research showed that although both criminal laws and child protection laws are implemented a number of difficulties with the implementation of these laws remain. The article suggests that efforts should primarily focus on child protection measures, but also on developing implementation strategies for criminal laws, and concludes with suggestions to overcome the obstructing factors to implement laws applicable to FGM in Europe.

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Notes

  1. For example in France, parents or persons having custody can be and have been prosecuted as accomplices.

  2. This procedure is common after every childbirth (and between childbirths, after divorce, a.o.) among Sudanese women [12, 34] as cited in [4], but is rarely requested by Somali women [4]. The commonly requested re-tightening after delivery by most Somali women is closing until a narrowed vaginal opening, but not to the primary infibulated state that needs a de-fibulation [4].

  3. The ‘statutory sector’ comprises the departments and services provided by the government, including the Department of Social Services, the Department of Health, Local Government Authorities, the Police and Education services [20].

  4. Guideline regarding excision of girls.

  5. Mother and Child Health Care service, a public service provided in each of the French departments.

  6. Protocol for the Prevention of Female Genital Mutilation in the area of Gerona.

  7. Protocol of Proceedings to prevent female genital mutilation.

  8. Female genital mutilation: An educational material for schools, social authorities and the health sector.

  9. This is a small booklet given to the parents at birth of the child. It is to be presented at each medical consultation, either preventive or curative, and contains medical surveillance data on the child from birth until 6 years [26].

  10. The project manager is responsible for a project in Nigeria that works with women and girls who have suffered Vesico Vaginal Fistula and Recto Vaginal Fistula as a result of FGM (Type 4) and early pregnancy and obstructed labour [21].

  11. Commission Fight Against Female Genital Mutilation (‘Commissie Bestrijding Vrouwelijke Genitale Verminking’).

  12. Such an order can prevent girls of being taken out of the country.

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Acknowledgements

The authors kindly acknowledge the Daphne Programme of the European Commission for funding the research and Prof Eva Brems of Ghent University for reading an earlier version of this paper and her valuable input in the research.

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Correspondence to Els Leye.

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Leye, E., Deblonde, J., García-Añón, J. et al. An analysis of the implementation of laws with regard to female genital mutilation in Europe. Crime Law Soc Change 47, 1–31 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10611-007-9055-7

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