Female Genital Cutting (FGC) is against the law in all States and Territories of Australia. It is also against the law to take a girl to another country to be cut. FGC harms the health and wellbeing of girls and women.
What is FGC?
FGC is the cutting or removing of part or all of a girl's external genital organs for non-medical reasons. It is sometimes called female circumcision or female genital mutilation.
FGC is usually carried out as part of long-standing tradition and cultural beliefs. Many communities around the world are making it illegal.
How does FGC affect health?
All types of cutting damages or removes healthy tissue and can cause serious harm in the short term or for life. This may include:
- pain, bleeding, infection
- problems passing urine
- problems with menstrual flow
- pain during periods and sexual intercourse
- difficulty having children
- problems during childbirth
- emotional and psychological pain or trauma.
Parents of girls can feel family or community pressure to practise FGC even after coming to Australia. If this happens, remember Australian law always comes first. FGC is a crime and serious penalties apply.
Female Genital Cutting has no health benefits for girls or women.
Get help straight away if anyone you know is at risk of being cut or taken to another country to be cut. You could:
- contact a service. They are confidential. You can ask for a female interpreter
- call the Police. You can talk to a policewoman
- call the Child Abuse Report Line.
If you have been cut or are not sure if you've been cut, you can talk to your doctor, women's health service or health worker about:
- any physical, emotional or other concerns
- treatment options
- being pregnant or planning a pregnancy
- getting a check-up.
Seek help straight away if a girl is at risk of being cut. There are services that can help.