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Protection orders

Standing to Apply for Order for Protection

  • Legislation should provide that any reputable person, such as a family member, teacher, neighbor, or counselor, having knowledge of a child who appears to be in need of protection, and having reason to fear imminent bodily harm for the child from the perpetration of FGM, may petition the court for an order for protection from FGM.
  • Legislation should provide that a girl or woman over the age of 10 who has reason to fear her own imminent bodily harm from the perpetration of FGM also has standing to apply for an order for protection. 

Evidence Needed to Obtain Order for Protection

Legislation should state that the testimony of those with standing to apply for an order for protection from FGM, in court or by sworn affidavit, is sufficient evidence on its own for the issuance of the order for protection.  No further evidence should be necessary.

Petition for Emergency Order for Protection

  • Legislation should provide that the petition for an emergency order for protection shall allege the existence of or immediate and present danger of the infliction of FGM.
  • Legislation should provide that the court has jurisdiction over the parties to a matter involving FGM, notwithstanding that there is a parent in the child's household who is willing to enforce the court's order and accept services on behalf of the family. This ensures continued protection in cases where parents may be divided on the issue of whether their daughter should be forced to undergo FGM.   
  • Legislation should provide an emergency order for protection remedy for a female in need of protection from undergoing FGM. (Link to OFP Section of Domestic Violence Section). 
  • Legislation should state that no waiting period is required for the emergency protection order to take effect.

The emergency order for protection should include:

  • Injunction against the performance of  FGM;   
  • Suspension of parental authority if the court determines that a parent or parents are considering authorizing the performance of FGM on a minor child or that the child or a responsible adult has a reasonable fear that the parents are considering authorizing the performance of FGM; and 
  • Suspension of travel authority if the court determines there is risk that the child will be taken out of the country to undergo FGM.

Travel Restrictions

Legislation should provide authorization for courts to suspend travel authority for the child if the court determines that the parents are considering authorizing the performance of FGM or that the child or a responsible adult has a reasonable fear that the parents are considering authorizing the performance of FGM. 

Promising Practice:  South Australia’s Children’s Protection Act, Section 26B(1)

In South Australia, a court that suspects a child is at risk of undergoing FGM may make an order for the protection for the child. The order may prohibit the removal of the child from the state and require that the child’s passport be held by the court. 

Protection of children at risk of genital mutilation

26B. (1) If the Court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a child may be at risk of female genital mutilation, the Court may make orders for the protection of the child.

Examples — The Court might for example make an order—

(a) preventing a person from taking the child from the State; or

(b) requiring that the child’s passport be held by the Court for a period specified in the order or until further order; or

(c) providing for the periodic examination of the child to ensure that the child is not subjected to female genital mutilation.  (Emphasis added). 

Copy of Order for Protection to Law Enforcement Agency

An emergency order for protection shall be forwarded by the court administrator within 24 hours to the local law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over the residence of the child.

Each appropriate law enforcement agency shall make available to other law enforcement officers through a system of verification, information as to the existence and status of any order for protection issued.

 Parental Intervention and Education Program

Legislation should provide that the parent, parents, or guardian of a child in a shelter, refuge or foster care home shall attend an intervention and education program on the issue of female genital mutilation and its adverse health consequences. Legislation should require that the intervention and education program be established by NGOs with experience in this field. Legislation should require that the state fund the intervention and education program.

Review of Status of Child in Shelter, Refuge, or Foster Care Home

  • When an emergency order for protection is in effect and a child is residing in a shelter, refuge, or foster care home, the court shall periodically review the status of the child and of the parent or guardian regarding the issue of female genital mutilation. (See Hearing by Court below).
  • If the court finds that it is in the best interest of the child, the court may order that the child may return home to her parents. 
  • Legislation shall provide that all other terms of the order for protection, including the injunction against travel and the injunction against the performance of female genital mutilation, shall remain in place until the court finds that it is in the best interest of the child for each injunction to be lifted.
  • Legislation should require follow-up monitoring of the child who returns to her parents to ensure that FGM does not take place later. 
  • Legislation should provide that if the court finds that it is in the best interest of the child to remain in the shelter, refuge, or foster care home, the court may continue the child’s placement in the facility.

Violation of Order for Protection

Legislation should state that violation of the emergency order for protection is a crime.

No Time Limit on Order for Protection

Legislation should state that an emergency order for protection should be left in place permanently, or until lifted by decision of the court after a hearing, or until the child attains the age of majority.