Stopping female genital mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is an operation to remove the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. FGM is prohibited in the Netherlands, and it is a criminal offence. The government wants to prevent and stop FGM by educating people and by punishing offenders.

Measures against FGM

The following are some of the measures the government uses to combat FGM:

Declaration against FGM

Paediatricians provide parents of daughters from risk countries, like Somalia and Ethiopia, with a declaration against FGM. Parents can use this declaration to explain to their families abroad that FGM is harmful to health and that it is a criminal offence in the Netherlands.

Training courses for social workers

Pharos, the Dutch Centre of Expertise on Health Disparities, holds training courses on FGM for social workers.  The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) supports Pharos financially.

Seeking advice from an expert

The organisation Veilig Thuis (‘Safe at Home’) employs experts who are trained to recognise situations where girls are at risk of FGM. Social workers can seek advice from these experts.

Educating risk groups

The Federation of Somali Associations in the Netherlands (FSAN) educates risk groups about FGM. The FSAN receives some of its funding from the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.

Combating FGM

Pharos is committed to preventing and stopping FGM. Its activities include training professionals and creating informative, educational materials. Pharos also reaches out to young people through the No Game youth group. This group gives presentations in schools and other places where groups of young people come together, such as asylum seekers’ centres. No Game is a Pharos initiative. Pharos’ activities are funded by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.

FGM is a criminal offence in the Netherlands

All forms of FGM are prohibited in the Netherlands. Anyone who performs or assists in FGM is guilty of a criminal offence and may receive a prison sentence or a fine.

In addition, anyone who performs FGM or has it performed abroad will be prosecuted in the Netherlands if they hold Dutch nationality or live permanently in the Netherlands.