8 April 2016

Alice Klein

Around 10 per cent of Australian paediatricians say they have seen female genital mutation (FGM) in Australian children, with two-thirds believing the practice is occurring locally, research shows.

The survey of 500 paediatricians was conducted in 2014 and defined FGM as the partial or total removal or any or all of the external genitalia, or other injury to the genital organs (including cutting, piercing, stretching, cauterisation, scraping and infibulation), that was performed for non-medical reasons.

A total of 50 out of 500 respondents said they had seen at least one case of FGM during their career.

Sixteen of the respondents said they had seen at least one case of FGM in the past five years, equating to a total of 59 cases during that time period.

The paediatricians said they believed children were more likely to be sent overseas to undergo FGM, but 60 per cent thought the practice was also being performed in Australia.

The findings come less than a month after a former nurse, a mother and an Islamic sect community leader were sentenced to a minimum 11 months in jail after being convicted of FGM offences against two young girls in Sydney.

Last Reviewed: 08/04/2016

Reproduced with kind permission from Australian Doctor


Sureshkumar P, et al. Female genital mutilation: Survey of paediatricians’ knowledge, attitudes and practice. Child Abuse and Neglect 2016; online.