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30 May 2019, 10:23
A planned new law in Scotland will give women and children thought to be at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) more protection.
The legislation would enable courts to issue protection orders to safeguard those who may be under pressure to undergo FGM.
The practice has been a specific criminal offence in the UK since 1985 and involves the external female genitals being partially or totally cut off, or other injury to the area.
FGM survivor Neneh Bojang, from Edinburgh, welcomed the proposed legislation, which also will include statutory guidance for professionals and agencies working to eradicate the crime.
Ms Bojang said: "I was just nine years old when I was subjected to FGM. It was excruciating and has caused me pain throughout my life.
"If this Bill prevents even just one woman from going through the same, then in my eyes, it will be a success."
Equalities Minister Christina McKelvie lodged the Female Genital Mutilation (Protection and Guidance) (Scotland) Bill at Holyrood.
She said: "FGM is a deeply abhorrent practice and a fundamental violation of the human rights of women and girls.
"It is a physical manifestation of deep-rooted gender inequality.
"FGM is already illegal. This Bill will provide for increased protection with the introduction of protection orders and putting guidance on a statutory footing to improve the response of services."
If passed, it will enable people at risk of FGM, those who have been subjected to it, a local authority, the police or the Lord Advocate to apply to court for a protection order.