Female genital cutting : An overview of Australian legal principles, ethical controversies, and medical, legal and social challenges
Mathews, Benjamin P. (2014) Female genital cutting : An overview of Australian legal principles, ethical controversies, and medical, legal and social challenges. In 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Convention Centre, Melbourne.
Female genital cutting (also often called female genital mutilation, or female circumcision) is a cultural practice that originated thousands of years ago. Female genital cutting has various forms, some of which are more invasive than others, but all of which produce health, legal and social consequences for those involved. Due to patterns of immigration in Australia, especially since the 1990s, there are women in Australia who have experienced female genital cutting. There may be some families, or some parents, who still hold a cultural commitment to female genital cutting. As a result, female genital cutting presents complex legal, ethical, medical and social challenges in contemporary Australian society. Medical practitioners and other health and welfare workers may encounter women who have experienced genital cutting and who require treatment for its sequelae. Currently, legislative frameworks for female genital cutting vary across states and territories, including the penalties for conducting it, and for removing a child for the purpose of conducting it outside Australia. This presentation provides an overview of the history, nature and consequences of the various forms of female genital cutting, and of the major Australian legal principles, ethical controversies, and medical, legal and social challenges in this field.
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