Search Legislation

Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003

 Help about what version

What Version

 Help about advanced features

Advanced Features

Changes over time for: Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (without Schedules)

 Help about opening options

Changes to legislation:

There are currently no known outstanding effects for the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003. Help about Changes to Legislation

Close

Changes to Legislation

Revised legislation carried on this site may not be fully up to date. At the current time any known changes or effects made by subsequent legislation have been applied to the text of the legislation you are viewing by the editorial team. Please see ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ for details regarding the timescales for which new effects are identified and recorded on this site.

1Offence of female genital mutilationE+W+N.I.

(1)A person is guilty of an offence if he excises, infibulates or otherwise mutilates the whole or any part of a girl’s labia majora, labia minora or clitoris.

(2)But no offence is committed by an approved person who performs—

(a)a surgical operation on a girl which is necessary for her physical or mental health, or

(b)a surgical operation on a girl who is in any stage of labour, or has just given birth, for purposes connected with the labour or birth.

(3)The following are approved persons—

(a)in relation to an operation falling within subsection (2)(a), a registered medical practitioner,

(b)in relation to an operation falling within subsection (2)(b), a registered medical practitioner, a registered midwife or a person undergoing a course of training with a view to becoming such a practitioner or midwife.

(4)There is also no offence committed by a person who—

(a)performs a surgical operation falling within subsection (2)(a) or (b) outside the United Kingdom, and

(b)in relation to such an operation exercises functions corresponding to those of an approved person.

(5)For the purpose of determining whether an operation is necessary for the mental health of a girl it is immaterial whether she or any other person believes that the operation is required as a matter of custom or ritual.

Commencement Information

I1S. 1 in force at 3.3.2004 by S.I. 2004/286, art. 2

2Offence of assisting a girl to mutilate her own genitaliaE+W+N.I.

A person is guilty of an offence if he aids, abets, counsels or procures a girl to excise, infibulate or otherwise mutilate the whole or any part of her own labia majora, labia minora or clitoris.

Commencement Information

I2S. 2 in force at 3.3.2004 by S.I. 2004/286, art. 2

3Offence of assisting a non-UK person to mutilate overseas a girl’s genitaliaE+W+N.I.

(1)A person is guilty of an offence if he aids, abets, counsels or procures a person who is not a United Kingdom national or F1... United Kingdom resident to do a relevant act of female genital mutilation outside the United Kingdom.

(2)An act is a relevant act of female genital mutilation if—

(a)it is done in relation to a United Kingdom national or F2... United Kingdom resident, and

(b)it would, if done by such a person, constitute an offence under section 1.

(3)But no offence is committed if the relevant act of female genital mutilation—

(a)is a surgical operation falling within section 1(2)(a) or (b), and

(b)is performed by a person who, in relation to such an operation, is an approved person or exercises functions corresponding to those of an approved person.

Textual Amendments

F1Word in s. 3(1) omitted (3.5.2015) by virtue of Serious Crime Act 2015 (c. 9), ss. 70(1)(a), 88(4) (with s. 86(10))

F2Word in s. 3(2)(a) omitted (3.5.2015) by virtue of Serious Crime Act 2015 (c. 9), ss. 70(1)(a), 88(4) (with s. 86(10))

Commencement Information

I3S. 3 in force at 3.3.2004 by S.I. 2004/286, art. 2

[F33AOffence of failing to protect girl from risk of genital mutilationE+W+N.I.

(1)If a genital mutilation offence is committed against a girl under the age of 16, each person who is responsible for the girl at the relevant time is guilty of an offence.

This is subject to subsection (5).

(2)For the purposes of this section a person is “responsible” for a girl in the following two cases.

(3)The first case is where the person—

(a)has parental responsibility for the girl, and

(b)has frequent contact with her.

(4)The second case is where the person—

(a)is aged 18 or over, and

(b)has assumed (and not relinquished) responsibility for caring for the girl in the manner of a parent.

(5)It is a defence for the defendant to show that—

(a)at the relevant time, the defendant did not think that there was a significant risk of a genital mutilation offence being committed against the girl, and could not reasonably have been expected to be aware that there was any such risk, or

(b)the defendant took such steps as he or she could reasonably have been expected to take to protect the girl from being the victim of a genital mutilation offence.

(6)A person is taken to have shown the fact mentioned in subsection (5)(a) or (b) if—

(a)sufficient evidence of the fact is adduced to raise an issue with respect to it, and

(b)the contrary is not proved beyond reasonable doubt.

(7)For the purposes of subsection (3)(b), where a person has frequent contact with a girl which is interrupted by her going to stay somewhere temporarily, that contact is treated as continuing during her stay there.

(8)In this section—

  • genital mutilation offence ” means an offence under section 1, 2 or 3 (and for the purposes of subsection (1) the prosecution does not have to prove which section it is);

  • “parental responsibility”—

    (a)

    in England Wales, has the same meaning as in the Children Act 1989;

    (b)

    in Northern Ireland, has the same meaning as in the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 ( S.I. 1995/755 (N.I. 2));

  • the relevant time ” means the time when the mutilation takes place. ]

Textual Amendments

F3S. 3A inserted (3.5.2015) by Serious Crime Act 2015 (c. 9), ss. 72(2), 88(4) (with s. 86(16)(17))

4Extension of sections 1 to [F43A] to extra-territorial acts [F5or omissions]E+W+N.I.

(1)Sections 1 to 3 extend to any act done outside the United Kingdom by a United Kingdom national or F6... United Kingdom resident.

[F7(1A)An offence under section 3A can be committed wholly or partly outside the United Kingdom by a person who is a United Kingdom national or a United Kingdom resident.]

(2)If an offence under this Act is committed outside the United Kingdom—

(a)proceedings may be taken, and

(b)the offence may for incidental purposes be treated as having been committed,

in any place in England and Wales or Northern Ireland.

Textual Amendments

F4Word in s. 4 heading substituted (3.5.2015) by Serious Crime Act 2015 (c. 9), ss. 72(3)(a), 88(4)

F5Words in s. 4 heading inserted (3.5.2015) by Serious Crime Act 2015 (c. 9), ss. 72(3)(a), 88(4)

F6Word in s. 4(1) omitted (3.5.2015) by virtue of Serious Crime Act 2015 (c. 9), ss. 70(1)(b), 88(4) (with s. 86(10))

F7S. 4(1A) inserted (3.5.2015) by Serious Crime Act 2015 (c. 9), ss. 72(3)(b), 88(4)

Commencement Information

I4S. 4 in force at 3.3.2004 by S.I. 2004/286, art. 2

[F84AAnonymity of victimsE+W+N.I.

Schedule 1 provides for the anonymity of persons against whom a female genital mutilation offence (as defined in that Schedule) is alleged to have been committed.]

Textual Amendments

F8S. 4A inserted (3.5.2015) by Serious Crime Act 2015 (c. 9), ss. 71(1), 88(4)

5Penalties for offencesE+W+N.I.

[F9(1)A person guilty of an offence under section 1, 2 or 3] is liable—

(a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years or a fine (or both),

(b)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (or both).

[F10(2)A person guilty of an offence under section 3A is liable—

(a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years or a fine (or both),

(b)on summary conviction in England and Wales, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or a fine (or both),

(c)on summary conviction in Northern Ireland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (or both).]

Textual Amendments

F9Words in s. 5 substituted (3.5.2015) by Serious Crime Act 2015 (c. 9), ss. 72(4)(a), 88(4)

F10S. 5(2) inserted (3.5.2015) by Serious Crime Act 2015 (c. 9), ss. 72(4)(b), 88(4) (with s. 86(14)(15))

Commencement Information

I5S. 5 in force at 3.3.2004 by S.I. 2004/286, art. 2

[F115AFemale genital mutilation protection ordersE+W+N.I.

(1)Schedule 2 provides for the making of female genital mutilation protection orders.

(2)In that Schedule—

(a)Part 1 makes provision about powers of courts in England and Wales to make female genital mutilation protection orders;

(b)Part 2 makes provision about powers of courts in Northern Ireland to make such orders.]

Textual Amendments

[F125BDuty to notify police of female genital mutilationE+W

(1)A person who works in a regulated profession in England and Wales must make a notification under this section (an “FGM notification”) if, in the course of his or her work in the profession, the person discovers that an act of female genital mutilation appears to have been carried out on a girl who is aged under 18.

(2)For the purposes of this section—

(a)a person works in a “regulated profession” if the person is—

(i)a healthcare professional,

(ii)a teacher, or

(iii)a social care worker in Wales;

(b)a person “discovers” that an act of female genital mutilation appears to have been carried out on a girl in either of the following two cases.

(3)The first case is where the girl informs the person that an act of female genital mutilation (however described) has been carried out on her.

(4)The second case is where—

(a)the person observes physical signs on the girl appearing to show that an act of female genital mutilation has been carried out on her, and

(b)the person has no reason to believe that the act was, or was part of, a surgical operation within section 1(2)(a) or (b).

(5)An FGM notification—

(a)is to be made to the chief officer of police for the area in which the girl resides;

(b)must identify the girl and explain why the notification is made;

(c)must be made before the end of one month from the time when the person making the notification first discovers that an act of female genital mutilation appears to have been carried out on the girl;

(d)may be made orally or in writing.

(6)The duty of a person working in a particular regulated profession to make an FGM notification does not apply if the person has reason to believe that another person working in that profession has previously made an FGM notification in connection with the same act of female genital mutilation.

For this purpose, all persons falling within subsection (2)(a)(i) are to be treated as working in the same regulated profession.

(7)A disclosure made in an FGM notification does not breach—

(a)any obligation of confidence owed by the person making the disclosure, or

(b)any other restriction on the disclosure of information.

(8)The Secretary of State may by regulations amend this section for the purpose of adding, removing or otherwise altering the descriptions of persons regarded as working in a “regulated profession” for the purposes of this section.

(9)The power to make regulations under this section—

(a)is exercisable by statutory instrument;

(b)includes power to make consequential, transitional, transitory or saving provision.

(10)A statutory instrument containing regulations under this section is not to be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.

(11)In this section—

  • act of female genital mutilation” means an act of a kind mentioned in section 1(1);

  • healthcare professional” means a person registered with any of the regulatory bodies mentioned in section 25(3) of the National Health Service Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002 (bodies within remit of the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care);

  • registered”, in relation to a regulatory body, means registered in a register that the body maintains by virtue of any enactment;

  • social care worker” means a person registered in a register maintained by the Care Council for Wales under section 56 of the Care Standards Act 2000;

  • teacher” means—

    (a)

    in relation to England, a person within section 141A(1) of the Education Act 2002 (persons employed or engaged to carry out teaching work at schools and other institutions in England);

    (b)

    in relation to Wales, a person who falls within a category listed in the table in paragraph 1 of Schedule 2 to the Education (Wales) Act 2014 (anaw 5) (categories of registration for purposes of Part 2 of that Act) or any other person employed or engaged as a teacher at a school (within the meaning of the Education Act 1996) in Wales.

(12)For the purposes of the definition of “healthcare professional”, the following provisions of section 25 of the National Health Service Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002 are to be ignored—

(a)paragraph (g) of subsection (3);

(b)subsection (3A).]

Textual Amendments

[F135CGuidanceE+W

(1)The Secretary of State may issue guidance to whatever persons in England and Wales the Secretary of State considers appropriate about—

(a)the effect of any provision of this Act, or

(b)other matters relating to female genital mutilation.

(2)A person exercising public functions to whom guidance is given under this section must have regard to it in the exercise of those functions.

(3)Nothing in this section permits the Secretary of State to give guidance to any court or tribunal.

(4)Before issuing guidance under this section the Secretary of State must consult—

(a)the Welsh Ministers so far as the guidance is to [F14a devolved Welsh authority] ;

(b)any person whom the Secretary of State considers appropriate.

[F15(5)In subsection (4)(a) “devolved Welsh authority” has the same meaning as in the Government of Wales Act 2006 (see section 157A of that Act).]

(6)The Secretary of State may from time to time revise any guidance issued under this section.

(7)Subsections (2) and (3) have effect in relation to any revised guidance.

(8)Subsection (4) has effect in relation to any revised guidance unless the Secretary of State considers the proposed revisions of the guidance are insubstantial.

(9)The Secretary of State must publish the current version of any guidance issued under this section.]

Textual Amendments

F13S. 5C inserted (E.W.) (31.10.2015) by Serious Crime Act 2015 (c. 9), ss. 75(1), 88(1); S.I. 2015/1809, reg. 2(b)

F14Words in s. 5C(4)(a) substituted (1.4.2018) by Wales Act 2017 (c. 4), s. 71(4), Sch. 6 para. 59(2) (with Sch. 7 paras. 1, 6); S.I. 2017/1179, reg. 3(r)

6DefinitionsE+W+N.I.

(1)Girl includes woman.

(2)A United Kingdom national is an individual who is—

(a)a British citizen, a British overseas territories citizen, a British National (Overseas) or a British Overseas citizen,

(b)a person who under the British Nationality Act 1981 (c. 61) is a British subject, or

(c)a British protected person within the meaning of that Act.

[F16(3)A United Kingdom resident is an individual who is habitually resident in the United Kingdom.]

(4)This section has effect for the purposes of this Act.

Textual Amendments

F16S. 6(3) substituted (3.5.2015) by Serious Crime Act 2015 (c. 9), ss. 70(1)(c), 88(4) (with s. 86(10))

Commencement Information

I6S. 6 in force at 3.3.2004 by S.I. 2004/286, art. 2

7Consequential provisionE+W+N.I.

(1)The Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 (c. 38) ceases to have effect.

(2)In paragraph 1(b) of the Schedule to the Visiting Forces Act 1952 (c. 67) (offences against the person in respect of which a member of a visiting force may in certain circumstances not be tried by a United Kingdom court), for paragraph (xi) there is substituted—

(xi)the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003;.

Commencement Information

I7S. 7 in force at 3.3.2004 by S.I. 2004/286, art. 2

8Short title, commencement, extent and general savingE+W+N.I.

(1)This Act may be cited as the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.

(2)This Act comes into force on such day as the Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument appoint.

(3)An order under subsection (2) may include transitional or saving provisions.

(4)This Act does not extend to Scotland[F17and sections 5B and 5C do not extend to Northern Ireland].

(5)Nothing in this Act affects any criminal liability arising apart from this Act.

Textual Amendments

Commencement Information

I8S. 8 in force at 3.3.2004 by S.I. 2004/286, art. 2

Back to top

Options/Help

Print Options

Close

Legislation is available in different versions:

Latest Available (revised):The latest available updated version of the legislation incorporating changes made by subsequent legislation and applied by our editorial team. Changes we have not yet applied to the text, can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area.

Original (As Enacted or Made): The original version of the legislation as it stood when it was enacted or made. No changes have been applied to the text.

Close

See additional information alongside the content

Geographical Extent: Indicates the geographical area that this provision applies to. For further information see ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

Show Timeline of Changes: See how this legislation has or could change over time. Turning this feature on will show extra navigation options to go to these specific points in time. Return to the latest available version by using the controls above in the What Version box.

Close

Opening Options

Different options to open legislation in order to view more content on screen at once

Close

Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.

Close

More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources
Close

Timeline of Changes

This timeline shows the different points in time where a change occurred. The dates will coincide with the earliest date on which the change (e.g an insertion, a repeal or a substitution) that was applied came into force. The first date in the timeline will usually be the earliest date when the provision came into force. In some cases the first date is 01/02/1991 (or for Northern Ireland legislation 01/01/2006). This date is our basedate. No versions before this date are available. For further information see the Editorial Practice Guide and Glossary under Help.

Close

More Resources

Use this menu to access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • correction slips

Click 'View More' or select 'More Resources' tab for additional information including:

  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • links to related legislation and further information resources