Publication - Impact assessment

Female Genital Mutilation (Protection and Guidance) (Scotland) Bill: equality impact assessment

Published: 4 Jun 2019

Equality impact assessment (EQIA) for the new Female Genital Mutilation (Protection and Guidance) (Scotland) Bill.

36 page PDF

263.9 kB

36 page PDF

263.9 kB

Contents
Female Genital Mutilation (Protection and Guidance) (Scotland) Bill: equality impact assessment
Stage 2: Data and evidence gathering, involvement and consultation

36 page PDF

263.9 kB

Stage 2: Data and evidence gathering, involvement and consultation

Characteristic[1] Evidence gathered and strength/quality of evidence Source Data gaps identified and action taken
Age

23,979 men, women and children born in one of the 29 countries identified by UNICEF (2013) as an 'FGM-practicing country' were living in Scotland in 2011. This figure is based on self-reported country of birth and does not include children born in Scotland of parents born in an FGM-practicing country.

In 2012, 733 children were born in Scotland to mothers from an FGM-practicing country, of which, 363 were girls. Taking this into account, we can approximate that there are a minimum of 700 children born into communities potentially affected by FGM living in Scotland per year.

In 2011, there were 508,892 females under 18 living in Scotland. Of this, 417,238 were aged 0-14. According to data from the World Health Organisation, the majority of girls are cut before they turn 15 years old. However, of these figures, we do not know how many of these girls are living in potentially affected communities in Scotland.

Scottish Refugee Council Report: Tackling Female Genital Mutilation in Scotland; A Scottish Model of Intervention pg. 11[2]

Scottish Refugee Council Report: Tackling Female Genital Mutilation in Scotland; A Scottish Model of Intervention pg. 14[3]

Scotland's Census 2011 – National Records of Scotland Table – Age by Sex[4]

World Health Organisation, Sexual and Reproductive Health – Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)[5]

Data availability about age is strong.

However, there is no data available on the prevalence of FGM in Scotland.

Disability

In 2011, the proportion of people living in Scotland with a long-term, activity-limiting health problem or disability was approximately 20% (1,040,371 people). Proportions were similar in 2001 (1,027,872).

In 2017, the long-term condition prevalence was 45% among all adults aged 16 and over, and 17% among children aged 0-15. Around a third (32%) of adults reported living with limiting long-term conditions, whereas 13% reported living with non-limiting long-term conditions. The proportions of children that reported living with limiting and non-limiting conditions were 10% and 7% respectively.

However, there is no evidence to suggest that there is a direct correlation between FGM and disability. Nevertheless, there are usually conditions and health implications created as a result of undergoing FGM.

It should be recognised that in FGM practicing communities, women and girls would be at the same risk of the practice as non-disabled women and girls.

Scotland's Census 2011 – National Records of Scotland Table – Long-term health problem or disability by sex by age[6]

The Scottish Health Survey, 2017 edition pg. 22[7]

Data availability about disability is strong.

However, there is no data available on the prevalence of FGM in Scotland.

Sex

In 2011, approximately 52% of Scotland's population was female (2,727,959). This proportion is consistent with previous census data.

By its very nature, FGM is an extreme form of gender-based violence that affects women and girls because they are female. This new Bill seeks to strengthen the existing legislative framework and create new provisions to reinforce protection of women and girls who are potentially affected by FGM.

Nevertheless, the Scottish Government recognises that to address FGM effectively, there is a need to engage with women and men to ensure that the cultural roots of FGM are being challenged. In recognition of this, the Scottish Government are funding projects such as "Change Makers: Combatting Female Genital Mutilation Working With Men," which is a programme ran by the organisation Community Info Source. This project seeks to work with men in potentially affected communities to educate and raise awareness of the consequences and health implications of FGM.

We are aware of certain criticisms from the trans community that the term 'Female Genital Mutilation' is discriminatory or oppressive because they feel that it denies their identity and excludes them from being female. However, FGM is performed on girls because they are identified as girls. This then leads to them being treated as comparably inferior to males. Even if these girls later identify as transgender men, it will have no influence on their retrospective suppression from patriarchal forces that require females to be cut in order to be valued as "pure" within society. Ultimately, they are subjected to the oppression of FGM because they are identified as girls.

Scotland's Census 2011 – National Records of Scotland Table – Sex[8]

Data availability about sex is strong.

However, there is no data available on the prevalence of FGM in Scotland.

Pregnancy and Maternity

There were 363 girls born in Scotland to mothers who were born in FGM practicing countries in 2012. This represents a fivefold increase over the last 10 years.

There is limited data available on pregnancy and FGM. The National Action Plan contains objectives related to the capturing of statistics about FGM in Scotland, and the Implementation Group are considering the best ways to approach this.

Currently, healthcare professionals have been asked to record the diagnosis and types of FGM, along with any corrective procedures, in the appropriate clinical records. The condition is then able to coded, and relevant codes for hospitals and primary care have been provided to encourage national consistency. This should assist in collecting baseline information regarding some of the aspects of FGM, starting with healthcare services.

Scottish Refugee Council Report: Tackling Female Genital Mutilation in Scotland; A Scottish Model of Intervention pg. 3[9]

Data availability around pregnancy and maternity is limited.

There is no data available on the prevalence of FGM in Scotland.

Gender Reassignment The Registrar General for Scotland maintains a Gender Recognition Register in which the birth of a transsexual person whose acquired gender has been legally recognised is registered showing any new name(s) and the acquired gender. This enables the transsexual person to apply to the Registrar General for Scotland for a new birth certificate showing the new name(s) and acquired gender. The Gender Recognition Register is not open to public scrutiny. In 2016, there were 20 entries in the Gender Recognition Register, a decrease of 5 since 2015. Scottish Government Equality Evidence Finder – Summary: Transgender Demographics[10]

Data availability on gender reassignment is limited.

No additional action is considered necessary to obtain direct evidence as it does not directly or indirectly impact upon the policy.

Sexual Orientation

According to the Scottish Government's Equality Evidence Finder, around 2% of adults in Scotland self-identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or other. 95% of adults self-identified as straight or heterosexual.

Statistics published in the Integrated Household Survey 2014 showed that, UK-wide, 1.6% of adults identified as either gay, lesbian or bisexual. The survey also found that the likelihood of an adult identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual decreased with age. Around 2.6% of adults aged 16 to 24 identified themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual. This decreased to 0.6% of adults aged 65 and over.

Those who practice FGM justify it with references to various socio-cultural factors. Other common justifications for FGM are closely related to fixed gender roles and perceptions of women and girls as gatekeepers of their family's honour. This, in many cases, is closely linked to strict expectations regarding women's sexual "purity" and lack of desire. In some societies, the prevailing myth is that girls' sexual desires must be controlled early to prevent "deviant" sexual behaviour. This "deviant" behaviour could also refer to lesbian or bisexual women as the cultures in which FGM is commonly practiced are often homophobic as well. Therefore it could be argued that on some level, and in some cases, FGM can be constituted as a homophobic practice.

Scottish Government Equality Evidence Finder – Population Estimates, Sexual Orientation[11]

Integrated Household Survey (Experimental Statistics): January to December 2014[12]

There is no data or published research relating FGM to Sexual Orientation.

No additional action is considered necessary to obtain direct evidence as it will not create an impact, direct or indirect, on the policy as it stands.

Race

Although there does seem to be a larger proportion of known cases coming from predominately West African countries, FGM is not exclusive to any one particular race.

UNICEF identified 29 FGM practicing countries in 2013, all of which are either located in Africa, or the Middle East.

According to the 2011 Census, the size of the visible ethnic minority population in Scotland was just above 200,000, which is approximately 4% of the total population (based on the 2011 ethnicity classification). This has doubled since 2001. However, there is little evidence on how many people from FGM practicing countries are currently living in Scotland.

UNICEF FGM Practicing Countries (2013)[13]

Scotland's Census 2011 – National Records of Scotland Table – Ethnic Group[14]

Data availability about race is strong.

However, there is no data available on the prevalence of FGM in Scotland.

Religion or Belief

In 2011, approximately 3.5 million people identified with a religion (67% of the population).

Some people practice FGM as part of their religion, and this can create a great deal of pressure for girls to have it done. However, FGM is not recommended by any religion, nor is it in any religious texts. It is not religious, but might have become symbolic in some communities as a demonstration of faith.

Representatives from organisations including the International Relief Foundation, FORWARD, and the Muslim Women's Network UK met government ministers during a summit at the Home Office in London on 19 June 2014. By signing a joint declaration against the practice of FGM, they hope to send a clear message to communities across the UK that the practice is an extreme form of violence against women and girls and is not supported by any religious doctrine.

After Christianity, Islam was the most common faith in Scotland with the communities having 1.7 million, and 77,000 members respectively.

The Scottish Government recognises a need to engage with religious leaders in the work to eradicate FGM from Scottish communities and are working with community-based organisations as part of the National Action Plan to take this forward.

Scotland's Census 2011 – National Records of Scotland Table – Religion[15]

Gov.uk news – Faith and Community Leaders Unite to Condemn FGM – published 20 June 2014[16]

Scotland's Census 2011 – National Records of Scotland Table – Religion[17]

Scotland's National Action Plan to Prevent and Eradicate FGM[18]

Data availability about religion is strong

There is no data available on the prevalence of FGM in Scotland.


Contact

Email: nadia.abu-hussain@gov.scot