The parents of a one-year-old girl have been charged after they allegedly took their child to Bali for a female genital mutilation procedure – believed to be the first case in WA.
Child abuse squad detectives charged the parents – a 44-year-old man and a 42-year-old woman – under Section 306 of the Criminal Code, which makes all procedures involving part or total removal of female genitalia or injuries to the female genital region for cultural or non-therapeutic reasons an offence.
It will be alleged the procedure took place during a holiday in Bali on August 25.
It is understood the couple live in Perth’s northern suburbs and the girl is understood to be in good health.
The Department for Child Protection website warns that being a parent or guardian consenting to the practice is not regarded as a defence and, if convicted, the maximum penalty for the offence is 10 years jail. The penalty for the offence if committed in WA is 20 years.
The World Health Organisation website says about 140 million girls and women are living with the consequences of female genital mutilation, which offers no health benefits.
WHO regards the practice as a violation of human rights which is motivated by beliefs about “proper sexual behaviour” including premarital virginity and marital fidelity.
It is also associate with cultural ideals of femininity and modesty including the notion girls are “clean” after the removal of body parts considered “male” or “unclean”.
The northern suburbs couple have been summonsed to appear in the Joondalup Magistrate’s Court on October 4.