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Female genital mutilation – stop it now - 08/03/2013

Commission launches consultation to get input on how to prevent forced circumcision of girls and women.

Partial or full removal of a girl’s external genital organs is carried out purely for cultural, religious and social beliefs – not for any medical reason.

Hundreds of thousands of women living in Europe have been mutilated in this way, according to estimates. They are some of the 100 to 140 million subjected to the practice around the world – 90 million of them in Africa. The practice has severe physical and psychological consequences for victims.

Many more girls and women will be subjected to the same violation unless all governments step up prevention – here and around the world.

While genital mutilation is illegal in most countries, the practice still continues. Prosecutions are very rare, often because cases are not easily detected, the evidence is hard to collect and people are reluctant to report the crime for a variety of reasons.

Help needed

You can help us find a way to end this practice in Europe by answering a few questions in an online consultation.

A recent report reveals there are victims, or potential victims, in at least 13 EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and the UK. Action taken by EU governments to counter this practice is also detailed in the report.

To mark International Women’s Day on 8 March, the Commission is providing an extra €3.7m for EU programmes to prevent violence against women. Another €11.4m is being given to civic organisations and others working with victims.

Other EU action to end female genital mutilation (and all forms of violence against women) here and abroad include support for victims and potential victims in countries where it occurs.

EU action on this issue is aided by research undertaken by the European Institute for Gender Equality, which allows it to target resources where they are needed most.

More on violence against women

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