There were several distinct points raised in the responses to the other questions which are worth restating in this context.
Question 15: In relation to the issues covered within this consultation, are there any other points you would wish to make that are not already included under other answers
If yes, please outline these arguments
Other additional issues raised by respondents included:
- The need for better education across healthcare and education. The need for more training for those with work potentially related to FGM was also raised.
- The need for education in schools about FGM.
- Grassroots work with community workers and consultations with victims of FGM. The need for ongoing support for community groups. Engagement and consultation with affected communities to encourage the reduction of FGM.
- The need for strengthening clinical guidance on FGM.
- The need for an enquiry into the lack of FGM-related prosecutions in Scotland so far.
- The need to address the lack of statistical information demonstrating the extent of FGM in Scotland.
- Several respondents raised the issue of gender discrimination, as the provisions were specifically concerned with women and girls, thus excluding boys from consideration. This was viewed by one respondent as implying that treating boys in this way was acceptable and by another respondent as ignoring the situation of boys. Another respondent considered the failure to protect boys from genital mutilation as gender discrimination.
- The possibility of ‘umbrella’ legislation on gender-based crimes.
- The possibility of changing immigration policies to grant asylum to girls at a high risk of FGM.
- The need for proactive community engagement and less language barriers in the next consultation.
- The need for awareness raising was mentioned several times.
- The issue of cosmetic surgery in response to individual/social pressure, as well as in the sex industry in order to improve earnings, in the broader context of cultural pressure on women to look a certain way.
- The possibility of a specific body to engage with FGM rather than local authorities or health/police/social work bodies.
- The need to consult as many Islamic scholars as possible.
- The possibility of linking Scottish resources to e-learning packages available in England and Wales in relation to FGM.
- The lack of coherency around the age of a child in relation to child protection, from the perspective that protection to prevent FGM should go up to 18. It was noted that the legislation landscape in relation to what constituted a child should be clarified. Consideration of adult protection was also suggested.
- That the information on the size of refugee and certain migrant communities may be incomplete and census data may skew statistics in relation to these groups.
- The need to ensure that that body modifications of consenting transgender females are not classified as FGM.
- The lack of objective evidence concerning the extent of FGM in Scotland.
- The numerous barriers to accessing services faced by women and girls affected by FGM, including language barriers, a lack of confidence, a lack of knowledge, stigma associated with mental health problems.
- The observation that many victims of gender-based violence may not seek help from mainstream agencies. This was seen to reflect a combination of factors, including cultural assumptions, fear of violence or rejection, lack of contacts, not knowing certain practices are wrong, limited autonomy, lack of confidence, negative anecdotal knowledge about services, low literacy or language skills, a lack of information and other factors. There were also multiple barriers to women accessing services that would help them to learn English, while interpretation raised a number of challenges and may lead to subtle forms of miscommunication.
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