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The World Health Organisation (WHO) describes Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as “all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons”. FGM is illegal in the UK.

The Children Act 1989 (Amendment) (Female Genital Mutilation) [HL], Bill 294 of 2017-19 is a Private Member’s Bill sponsored by Lord Berkeley of Knighton (Crossbench) and Zac Goldsmith (Conservative).

The Bill relates to a small, technical amendment to close a gap in the law in relation to proceedings for Female Genital Mutilation Protection Orders (FGMPOs), which are used to protect and safeguard victims and potential victims of FGM.

The Bill will mean that when a court is dealing with an application for an FGMPO, it will also have powers under the Children Act 1989 to make other orders regarding the welfare of the child. This will improve the ability of the court to act quickly to protect children at risk. The Bill extends to England and Wales only.

The Bill has completed its parliamentary stages in the House of Lords, and has now progressed to Report and Third Reading stages in the House of Commons, which are scheduled for 11 March 2019. The Government supports the Bill.

The current version of the Bill and debates on the Parliamentary stages to date can be found on the Parliament Bill webpage.

This briefing paper provides an overview and background to the Bill.

Help for Members of Parliament and their staff

In addition to writing and updating published papers as Bills go through Parliament, the House of Commons Library can assist Members of Parliament and their staff with individual enquiries about bills, particularly on the policy background.  

The Public Bill Office (PBO) supports public bill committees.  The staff working in the PBO can advise Members of Parliament on tabling amendments to bills and on the drafting of Private Members’ Bills

Documents to download

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