Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Protection Orders (family law orders)

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Protection Orders (family law orders

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It is a harmful practice that can cause physical and psychological problems for girls and women.

FGM is illegal in the UK. In addition to criminal law, there is also family law that can be used to protect girls and women at risk of FGM.

What is a FGM Protection Order?

A FGM Protection Order (FGMPO) is a family court order that can be made to protect a girl or woman at risk of FGM. An FGMPO can contain a variety of conditions, such as:

  • Prohibiting the person named in the order from arranging for, aiding or abetting the performance of FGM on the protected person
  • Requiring the person named in the order to surrender their passport to prevent the protected person from being taken abroad for FGM
  • Prohibiting the person named in the order from contacting or approaching the protected person

Who can apply for a FGMPO?

A FGMPO can be applied for by:

  • The protected person themselves
  • A social worker or other local authority professional
  • A police officer
  • A relative or friend of the protected person
  • Any other person with the permission of the court

How to apply for a FGMPO

To apply for a FGMPO, you must file an application with the family court. The application must set out the reasons why you believe that the protected person is at risk of FGM and the conditions that you want to be included in the order.

The court will hold a hearing to consider the application. At the hearing, the court will hear evidence from the applicant and the respondent (the person named in the order). The court will also consider any evidence from other witnesses.

If the court is satisfied that the protected person is at risk of FGM, it will make a FGMPO. The order will be made for a fixed period of time, but it can be extended by the court if necessary.

Breaching a FGMPO

It is a criminal offence to breach a FGMPO. The maximum penalty for breaching a FGMPO is five years in prison.

If you are concerned that a girl or woman is at risk of FGM, you should contact the police or your local social services department.

We offer legal advice and assistance. A consultation can be arranged by emailing us at fld@oliverfisher.co.uk.

Article by Oliver Conway, Solicitor. 

To get in touch with the writer please email: fld@oliverfisher.co.uk.