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Female genital mutilation/cutting: risk management and strategies for social workers and health care professionals

Authors Costello S

Received 15 February 2015

Accepted for publication 23 March 2015

Published 15 December 2015 Volume 2015:8 Pages 225—233


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Frank Papatheofanis

Susan Costello

School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Abstract: Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is a traditional practice originating in Africa. Its worst forms cause irreparable harm to girls and women and have no medical justification. Based on a literature review of global responses to FGM/C and conversations with Australian women who migrated from FGM/C practicing countries, this paper provides some background on FGM/C and its epidemiology, outlining its prevalence, types, and health risks and complications for women and girls. It discusses risk-prevention strategies, first, for health practitioners in identifying, screening, and supporting women affected by FGM/C and, second, for welfare and social workers and health care professionals to identify, work with, and prevent girls from being cut. Consistent with international trends in addressing the risks of FGM/C, the paper suggests practice responses for coordinated responses between professionals, communities from practicing countries, and governments of different countries.

Keywords: female genital mutilation, female genital cutting, female circumcision, child protection, risk management

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