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A strategy to inform service providers and organisations about the health impacts of female genital mutilation and as a form of family violence


Who is leading the change

  • Department of Health and Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services, in collaboration with the Victorian Multicultural Commission, community organisations and other relevant bodies, develop a strategy for informing service providers, specialist family violence services and other community organisations about the health impacts of female genital mutilation, emphasising that it can be a form of family violence and a criminal offence.

  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is internationally recognised as a violation of the human rights of girls and women and is regarded as a form of family violence. The practice is rooted in cultural norms. The Department of Health and Human Services has undertaken a number of initiatives to support women who have experienced FGM prior to settling in Australia. To work with communities to ensure women at risk of FGM are protected.

    Existing resources were evaluated and distribution strategies were reviewed by consulting with a broad range of organisations, including: the Victorian Multicultural Commission, organisations funded by the Family and Reproductive Health Program (FARREP), and other relevant stakeholders.

    FARREP resources for health professionals, including a guide developed by Family Planning Victoria, continue to be available. The guide contains referral pathways and defines FGM and its associated health impacts. Information about relevant legislation is also included in the guide.

    The department has worked in partnership with community organisations receiving funding under FARREP to develop a program of activities for the International day of Zero Tolerance for FGM.

    The department is strengthening FARREP in consultation with funded organisations, the Victorian Multicultural Commission and other key stakeholders.

    In March 2017, a joint forum on FGM was held with the Victorian Multicultural Commission. This was extensively promoted across multiple networks and attended by a broad range of stakeholders.

    To ensure information is distributed across the community, the Department of Education and Training has included information on FGM in the publication PROTECT: Identifying and Responding to All Forms of Abuse in Victorian Schools for all school staff (2016)External Link .

  • While this work implements the recommendation as the above actions are complete, work will continue to strengthen the Family and Reproductive Rights Education Program to ensure that providers and organisations are aware of the health impacts of FGM and to raise awareness about FGM as a form of family violence.

    FARREP-funded organisations receive recurrent funding and initiatives will continue beyond these activities. FARREP-funded organisations are building relationships with programs such as the Integrated Health Promotion program, Women's and Community Health Services, the Refugee Health Program and specialist clinical services available at hospitals. These initiatives ensure that information about the health impacts of FGM will reach a wider audience.

  • Implemented.

Reviewed 17 May 2020

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