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  • Writer's pictureGeoff Harrison

Female Genital Mutilation

Updated: Nov 8, 2023


Published by Geoff Harrison | 6 November 2023


The offence of Female Genital Mutilation carries a maximum penalty of 21 years imprisonment. It is also an offence to take a person out of the State or arrange for a person to be taken out of the State, with the intention of having female genital mutilation performed on the other person; the maximum penalty is also 21 years imprisonment.


Other Sources:

Cases:


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Extracted Legislation:


CRIMES ACT 1900 - SECT 45

Prohibition of female genital mutilation


(1) A person who--

(a) excises, infibulates or otherwise mutilates the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person, or

(b) aids, abets, counsels or procures a person to perform any of those acts on another person,

is liable to imprisonment for 21 years.


(3) It is not an offence against this section to perform a surgical operation if that operation--

(a) is necessary for the health of the person on whom it is performed and is performed by a medical practitioner, or

(b) is performed on a person in labour or who has just given birth, and for medical purposes connected with that labour or birth, by a medical practitioner or authorised professional, or

(c) is a sexual reassignment procedure and is performed by a medical practitioner.


(4) In determining whether an operation is necessary for the health of a person only matters relevant to the medical welfare of the person are to be taken into account.


(5) It is not a defence to a charge under this section that the person mutilated by or because of the acts alleged to have been committed consented to the acts.


(6) This section applies only to acts occurring after the commencement of the section.


(7) In this section--


"authorised professional" means--

(a) a registered midwife, or

(b) a midwifery student, or

(c) in relation to an operation performed in a place outside Australia--a person authorised to practise midwifery by a body established under the law of that place having functions similar to the functions of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, or

(d) a medical student.


"medical practitioner" , in relation to an operation performed in a place outside Australia, includes a person authorised to practise medicine by a body established under the law of that place having functions similar to the Medical Board of Australia.


"medical student" means--

(a) a person who is registered as a student within the meaning of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (NSW) in the medical profession, or

(b) in relation to an operation performed in a place outside Australia--a person undergoing a course of training with a view to being authorised to be a medical practitioner in that place.


"midwifery student" means--

(a) a person who is registered as a student within the meaning of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (NSW) in the midwifery profession, or

(b) in relation to an operation performed in a place outside Australia--a person undergoing a course of training with a view to being authorised to be a midwife practitioner in that place.


"sexual reassignment procedure" means a surgical procedure to alter the genital appearance of a person to the appearance (as nearly as practicable) of the opposite sex to the sex of the person.


CRIMES ACT 1900 - SECT 45A

Removing person from State for female genital mutilation


(1) A person is guilty of an offence if the person takes another person from the State, or arranges for another person to be taken from the State, with the intention of having female genital mutilation performed on the other person.

Maximum penalty--imprisonment for 21 years.


(2) In proceedings for an offence under subsection (1) and in the absence of proof to the contrary, it is to be presumed that the accused took another person, or arranged for another person to be taken, from the State with the intention of female genital mutilation being performed on the other person if it is proved that--

(a) the accused took the person, or arranged for the person to be taken, from the State, and

(b) female genital mutilation was performed on the person while outside the State.

(3) It is not a defence to a charge under this section that the person taken from the State consented to being so taken.


(4) In this section--


"female genital mutilation" means an act referred to in section 45 (1) (a), the performance of which would be an offence against that section if performed in the State.



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