Today marks Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation Day. The Australian Government has taken this opportunity to announce funding of more than $265,000 for MCWH to deliver the National Education Toolkit for Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) Awareness (NETFA) project over the next two years.
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash said that the Australian Government is strongly opposed to harmful FGM/C practices and is committed to taking strong action at both the domestic and international level.
Senator Cash opened the National Symposium for Best Practice in FGM/C Prevention and Education last August and has been a strong advocate on this issue.
“The work of the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health is very important in supporting our community to understand the long term health effects of this harmful practice,” Minister Cash said.
“Through the NETFA project we will see a national centralised mechanism for networking and sharing expertise between FGM service providers throughout Australia.”
Minister Cash said the development of consistent national resources will increase awareness of FGM/C, support victims to seek help and change attitudes to end this harmful practice.
“We know that effective FGM prevention strategies can take several generations and that coordination is crucial,” Minister Cash said.
“That is why it is so important that we continue to support projects such as NETFA, and take a zero tolerance approach to Female Genital Mutilation in Australia.”
The project aligns with the Second Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children, which includes a specific commitment to work with Australia’s culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
FGM/C is recognised internationally as a harmful practice and a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
The Government currently supports Australians affected by FGM/C overseas and provides information for Australian travellers on FGM/C laws, as well as training materials for consular officers posted overseas to assist them support victims and ensure reporting of possible cases.
All states and territories in Australia have enacted legislation that makes it a criminal offence to perform FGM/C, and to remove a child from the state or territory in which they live for the purpose of performing FGM/C. The maximum penalties range from 7 to 21 years imprisonment.
MCWH is thrilled that it can continue the national network of FGM/C service providers, build on the success of the National Education Toolkit for FGM/C Awareness and develop more national resources to reach and support women and communities across Australia about this important issue.
To learn more about FGM/C, access national resources and find out about the good work that is already happening around Australia, go to: www.netfa.com.au