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 3: Assessing the impacts and identifying opportunities to promote equality

36 page PDF

263.9 kB

Stage 3: Assessing the impacts and identifying opportunities to promote equality

Do you think that the policy impacts people because of their age?

Age Positive Negative None Reasons for your decision
Eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation X

This legislation will offer further protection to women and girls from FGM, which is usually carried out on young girls.

FGM Protection Orders will be available to help protect those at risk of FGM.

Advancing equality of opportunity X This Bill aims to strengthen the existing legislative framework for protecting women and girls from FGM, with a long-term goal of advancing equality and opportunity for those at risk of the practice. The legislation aims to do this by: creating statutory guidance on FGM; and creating a legal framework for the introduction of FGM protection orders.
Promoting good relations among and between different age groups X FGM is primarily carried out on young girls by older members of their family or community. By working to prevent the practice, this policy will create more opportunities for positive relationships to flourish between the older and younger people from potentially affected communities.

Do you think that the policy impacts disabled people?

Disability Positive Negative None Reasons for your decision
Eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation X This legislation is primarily to offer further protection to women and girls from FGM, a practice which is not predicated on ability or disability. FGM Protection Orders will be available to help protect those at risk of FGM.
Advancing equality of opportunity X By strengthening the legislative framework around protecting people from FGM, this Bill will give young girls in particular more opportunity to live full, pain free lives, and realise their potential.
Promoting good relations among and between disabled and non-disabled people X FGM as a practice is not predicated by ability or disability. Therefore, this Bill will have no impact on promoting good relations between disabled and non-disabled people.

Do you think that the policy impacts on men and women in different ways?

Sex Positive Negative None Reasons for your decision
Eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation X

This Bill seeks to strengthen the legislative framework for protecting women and girls from FGM – this is a harmful practice that is predicated on gender and is an extreme violation of the human rights of women and girls. FGM reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes.

FGM Protection Orders will be available to help protect those at risk of FGM and the introduction of statutory guidance will ensure that institutions across Scotland will be better prepared to identify someone potentially at risk of FGM, and have a better understanding on how to support women and girls who have been victims of the practice. Therefore, the implementation of this legislation will contribute to eliminating unlawful discrimination against women.

Advancing equality of opportunity X

As stated previously, FGM constitutes a severe form of discrimination against women and girls, and reflects deep-rooted gender inequality. FGM also has no known health benefits and is an extremely harmful practice that always carried devastating short and long-term health consequences for women and girls.

Immediate physical health consequences include: severe pain, emotional and physical shock (exacerbated by being subjected to the trauma by loving parents, carers, extended family and friends), haemorrhage, wound infections (including tetanus and blood-borne viruses like HIV and Hepatitis B and C), urinary retention, injury to adjacent tissues, fracture or dislocation as a result of restraint, damage to other organs, and death.

In the long term, victims may experience recurrent sexual, psychological and physiological problems. They are also very likely to require specialist surgical interventions during pregnancy and childbirth.

Long-term physical health consequences include: chronic vaginal and pelvic infections, difficulties during menstruation, difficulties in passing urine and chronic urine infections, renal impairment and possible renal failure, damage to reproductive system (including infertility), infibulation cysts, neuromas, keloid scar formation, complications in pregnancy and delay in second stage of childbirth, maternal or foetal death, increased risk of sexually transmitted infections.

FGM can also be extremely traumatic, with lifetime impact. There is increasing awareness of the severe psychological consequences of FGM, which can become evident in mental health problems and drug and alcohol dependency. Young women receiving psychological counselling have reported feelings of betrayal by parents, incompleteness, regret and anger.

Research into communities affected by FGM in Africa found that women who have undergone FGM have the same levels of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as adults who have been subjected to early childhood abuse, and that the majority of women (80%) suffer from affective (mood) or anxiety disorders.

Additionally, it is important to note here that FGM reinforces gender stereotypes and patriarchal values. Those who practice FGM justify it with references to various socio-cultural factors. Other common justifications for FGM are closely linked to fixed gender roles and perceptions of women and girls as gatekeepers of their family's honour. This, in many cases, directly relates 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.

As a result of all that is stated above, it is clear that FGM creates vast inequalities between the sexes, for instance, the health inequalities that occur as a result of FGM are severe. Therefore, by strengthening the legislative framework on FGM, and as a result, protecting more women and girls from falling victim to the practice, this will ultimately have a positive effect on advancing equality of opportunity between the sexes.

Promoting good relations between men and women X FGM reflects deep-rooted inequalities between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women and girls. By implementing new legislation to increase protective measures against this practice, it is hoped that this will contribute to changing men's attitude towards FGM and women more generally. This will ultimately empower women and lead to better relations between men and women.

Do you think that the policy impacts on women because of pregnancy and maternity?

Pregnancy and Maternity Positive Negative None Reasons for your decision
Eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation X

FGM has many long-term health implications, including increasing the likelihood of severe complications during pregnancy and child birth.

FGM Protection Orders will be available to help protect those at risk of FGM. Further, the statutory guidance, institutions will be better prepared to support women who have been victims of the practice. Furthermore, new legislation will allow for extra protections to be put in place for new born girls who may be at risk of the practice. Therefore, this policy directly contributes to the elimination of unlawful discrimination.

Advancing equality of opportunity X The implementation of this new legislation, particularly through the statutory guidance, will allow institutions across Scotland to have a better understanding on how to support women who have been victims of FGM. Furthermore, with the introduction of FGM protection orders, new born girls who may be at risk can be protected as well. Therefore these new provisions will advance equality of opportunity by making sure pregnant women have access to all available services, and that protection for their child is maintained through relevant pathways.
Promoting good relations X The implementation of this new legislation, the statutory guidance in particular, will hopefully lead to better relationships between pregnant women and their health care professional. This is because these new legal provisions will allow for increased awareness of FGM and the appropriate measures to safeguard families.

Do you think your policy impacts on transsexual people?

Age Positive Negative None Reasons for your decision
Eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation X This new legislation will seek to strengthen the existing legislative framework for protecting women and girls from FGM – this includes any person who may have undergone gender reassignment or who may be in the process of transitioning. There are no negative impacts related to eliminating unlawful discrimination of transgender people. Although there is criticism from the trans community that the term FGM is trans exclusionary, we maintain that even if a person was to later identify as a trans male, it would not stop them being subjugated by patriarchal forced that require females to be cut in order to be valued as "pure" within society. They are subjected to this oppression because they are identified as female at birth.
Advancing equality of opportunity X The nature of this new legislation has the potential to advance equality of opportunity and there will be no barriers created for the transgender community. There are no negative impacts related to advancing equality of opportunity for transgender people in Scotland.
Promoting good relations X It is hoped that through the implementation of this legislation, in particular the statutory guidance on FGM, relationships between the trans community and the wider community will improve. There are no negative impacts related to promoting good relations with the transgender community in Scotland

Do you think that the policy impacts on people because of their sexual orientation?

Sexual Orientation Positive Negative None Reasons for your decision
Eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation X Those who practice FGM justify it with references to various socio-cultural factors. Other common justifications for FGM are closely linked to fixed gender roles and perceptions of women and girls as gatekeepers of their family's honour. This, in many cases, directly related 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. By strengthening the legislative framework, and offering further protections to women and girls potentially affected by the practice, it will have a positive impact on eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation of lesbian and bisexual women who may be affected by the homophobic aspects of FGM and the cultural beliefs that perpetrate it.
Advancing equality of opportunity X As reflected above, FGM is partly practiced to control the sexuality of women, this includes lesbian and bisexual women. This legislation will increase protections for these women from FGM, which will ultimately advance equality of opportunity
Promoting good relations X FGM constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women and girls. In the sense that it is practiced partly to control the sexuality of women, it is clear that this has implications for lesbian and bisexual women. By implementing new legislation to increase protective measures against this practice, it is hoped that this will contribute to changing attitude toward women's sexuality more broadly. This will ultimately empower lesbian and bisexual women and, therefore, promote good relations.

Do you think the policy impacts on people on the grounds of their race?

Race Positive Negative None Reasons for your decision
Eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation X There are positive implications related to eliminating unlawful discrimination because of race. Although there may be concerns about stigmatising certain communities, continuous engagement with communities, the third sector, and statutory organisations will counteract this. Furthermore, the issuing of statutory guidance will support organisations across Scotland to address the issue of FGM in a manner that is not discriminatory against any one community or race.
Advancing equality of opportunity X This new legislation has the potential to advance equality of opportunity for racial minorities in Scotland. The objective of this new Bill is to eradicate a harmful practice that is largely practiced in specific communities – it is therefore hoped that combatting this will allow for members of these communities to have advanced equality of opportunity. Furthermore, this new legislation has been partly informed through engagement with people from different racial minority backgrounds, this engagement will continue as we approach introduction and implementation.
Promoting good race relations X This new legislation has positive implications for promoting good race relations. The new statutory guidance will help to ensure that organisations across Scotland are well informed on FGM, which will allow for a more considered approach to tackling the issue in Scotland. Furthermore, the Scottish Government have been engaging with ethnic minority groups on this new Bill, and will seek to ensure engagement remains robust and consistent moving forward.

Do you think the policy impacts on people because of their religion or belief?

Religion or belief Positive Negative None Reasons for your decision
Eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation X FGM is a cultural practice that does not have any basis in any religion – although, there is a commonly held misconception in some communities that it is a religious requirement. New statutory guidance will provide a good opportunity to dispel some of these myths and therefore create a positive opportunity to contribute to eliminating any potential stereotyping of any particular religion as a driver for FGM.
Advancing equality of opportunity X This new legislation has the potential to advance equality of opportunity broadly and there will be no negative barriers created for advancing equality of opportunity based on religious beliefs. It is hoped that new statutory guidance will also be beneficial in engaging religious leaders in the work we're doing on eliminating FGM.
Promoting good relations X This new legislation, and the statutory guidance in particular will seek to engage more people, including religious leaders, in the work currently being done to eradicate FGM. Furthermore, statutory guidance will also seek to dispel myths of FGM being linked to any one religion. This therefore means that this new Bill has positive implications for promoting good relations from a religious perspective.

Contact

Email: nadia.abu-hussain@gov.scot