What is the offense of female genital mutilation in New South Wales? – Crime

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Female genital mutilation is a serious crime that is criminalized throughout Australia. Despite this, around 53,000 women across the country live with FGM.

Female genital mutilation refers to procedures that remove or injure female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It is a practice that is common in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia and is mostly performed on young girls from infancy to 15 years of age.

It has no health benefits and can harm women in many ways as it can cause severe pain, excessive bleeding, tissue swelling, infection, urinary problems and fever.

In 2014, the maximum penalty related to performing or hosting female genital mutilation he was raised from age 7 to 21 in New South Wales, making him the toughest stand in the country.


ยง 45 of the Act Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) prohibits female genital mutilation.

Makes it an offense to cut out, infibulate or otherwise mutilate the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person, or to assist, induce, advise or induce a person to do any of these acts. another person.

Excise means to cut out surgically, while infibulation refers to the practice of cutting a woman’s clitoris and labia and sewing the edges of the vulva together to prevent intercourse.

The phrase “otherwise maim” refers to “any injury of any magnitude for non-medical purposes”.

The maximum prison sentence is 21 years.

Exceptions are provided where the operation is:

  • necessary for the health of the person on whom it is performed and is performed by a doctor,

  • performed on a person in labor or a person who has just given birth, and for medical purposes connected with that birth or delivery by a general practitioner or authorized professional, or

  • gender reassignment procedure and is performed by a general practitioner.

In determining whether surgery is necessary for a person’s health, only matters related to the person’s health need to be considered.

It clarifies that a person consenting to the acts is not a defense.

It is important to note that it is also an offense to take another person out of New South Wales, or to arrange for another person to be taken out of the state, with the intention of having female genital mutilation carried out on them, under section 45A.

It is sufficient for the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • the accused took the person away or arranged for the person to be taken over by the state, and

  • female genital mutilation was performed on a person while she was out of state.

Nor is it a defense that the person taken from the State consents to be taken.

A maximum sentence of 21 years in prison also applies.


The first person to be jailed in Australia for female genital mutilation was in 2016 the leader of an Islamic sect, then 59-year-old Shabbir Mohammedbhai Vaziri.

Vaziri was charged along with midwife Kubra Magennis and the mother of two girls who had their genitals cut or slashed in separate proceedings in 2009 and 2012.

The charges were brought after the girls, who were aged six and seven at the time, told a police officer and a social worker that they had been subjected to “abuse” by Magennis.

‘Khatna’ is a type of female genital mutilation that involves causing injury to a young girl’s clitoris by cutting or scratching.

Essentially, the Crown’s case was that the Magennis cut the clitoris of each of the girls with the assistance of their mother as a ceremonial practice.

Vaziri encouraged community members to lie to the police about the practice of female genital mutilation and coached the girls’ fathers to explain how the girls’ injuries occurred.

Vaziri he was sentenced to a prison term of at least 11 months for being an accomplice.

The girls’ mother and Magennis were sentenced to 11 months of house arrest.

While the defendants attempted to appeal against their conviction by arguing that the word “mutilation” in this section meant that the injury required the body part in question to be imperfect or irreparably damaged, the High Court ultimately found that it should include injury of any extent to “female genital mutilation in all its harmful forms” was prohibited.

The Court of Criminal Appeal recently overturned the conviction of 42-year-old Brendan Leigh Russell for being an “extreme body modification artist” involving female genital mutilation.

In Russell’s case, he removed part of a woman’s labia with her consent as part of a cosmetic procedure in January 2015. He was not a GP, medical student or nurse.

The woman experienced pain approximately 12 months after, was unable to use tampons due to pain, and has discomfort wearing underwear due to tenderness.

On appeal, counsel for Russell successfully argued that the offense of female genital mutilation does not cover body modifications performed on adult women who have consented to such modifications for reasons other than traditional or ritual practices.

This was because in the previous case involving the mother, Vaziri and Magennis, the Supreme Court found that the purpose of the offense was to criminalize certain ritual practices and that the purpose of the section was to benefit and protect children.

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