FGM has been illegal in Scotland since 1985 and it is considered a form of violence against women and girls and a violation of their human rights internationally. It is an extremely harmful practice with devastating short and long-term health consequences for girls and women.
Equally Safe is Scotland's strategy to tackle all forms of violence against women and girls, including FGM. The aim of Equally Safe is to prevent and eradicate violence against women and girls, create a strong and flourishing Scotland where all individuals are equally safe and respected, and where women and girls live free from abuse - and the attitudes and behaviours that help perpetuate it.
Therefore our approach to tackling FGM is aligned with the overarching priorities of the Equally Safe strategy.
The purpose of this National Action Plan is to foster an environment of prevention in Scotland and to improve the welfare and quality of life of FGM survivors, with a focus on the linked areas of prevention, protecting girls at risk of FGM; and provision of appropriate support and sensitive services for survivors of FGM.
FGM reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. In addition to the severe pain during and in the weeks following the cutting, women who have undergone FGM experience various long-term effects including physical, sexual and psychological.
FGM will continue to be an issue in Scotland until communities themselves choose to abandon the practice and we recognise that in order to find a solution to eradicate FGM, working with potentially affected communities is vital to breaking the cycle of violence. The views of communities affected by FGM must shape and inform future policy and service provision.
To ensure we are doing everything we possibly can to tackle this violence, both at home in Scotland and abroad, the Scottish Government is committed to working with all of its partners in the statutory and third sectors and potentially affected communities to progress a range of interventions targeted at preventing Female Genital Mutilation ( FGM).
This is part of our wider ongoing work to tackle all forms of violence against women and girls and to take robust action against the perpetrators of this abuse, including strengthening the law as appropriate, as well as measures to keep women and children who may be at risk safe and well.
Our FGM National Action Plan is divided into 4 sections:
Section One describes what FGM is and the scale of the issue globally, as well as the policy and legislative landscape underpinning the National Action Plan. Section Two sets out our ongoing work ( Where we are now), and Section Three describes what remains to be done.
The National Action Plan itself is presented in Section 4 which includes the specific objectives, actions, activities and responsibilities required to drive and deliver the changes required. The objectives and actions have been informed by research, experience of other countries, engagement with partners in all sectors and the experiences and expertise of communities, and of service providers and service users.
Our strategic approach recognises the need to prioritise prevention/protection from FGM, provision of services/appropriate support to those who have experienced FGM, and to hold perpetrators to account. It also identifies any gaps in our knowledge and makes recommendations on how we can close them by working collaboratively with partners, across a wide range of interests and policy areas. Essentially, the Scottish Government's approach to these issues is preventive, supportive and legislative including, for example, changing attitudes and behaviours.
FGM is a global issue and we recognise that we can inform best interventions in Scotland by adopting and adapting good practices from other countries around the world. Our ambition is that likewise Scotland can become a model for other countries in terms of ending FGM, and supporting survivors.
" FGM reflects the deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women."