Rights of survivors

  • Legislation should provide for women-only police and protection units at law enforcement centers.
  • Legislation should provide that persons who are at risk of FGM may seek refuge at state-owned shelters.  Such shelters should be staffed by survivors of FGM and staff who can provide support, legal advice, and child protection services for survivors of FGM, including specialized services for particular groups such as immigrants. Legislation should provide that governments fund the shelters. 
  • Legislation should provide access to health care for immediate injuries and long-term care for survivors of FGM, including free medical repairs.
  • Legislation should provide for free legal services and free psychological services and vocational training for survivors of FGM to make them self-supporting.
  • Legislation should provide for a free, 24-hour hotline that is accessible from anywhere in the country and staffed by persons trained in FGM issues.


CASE STUDY:  Burkina Faso – 24-hour Hotline and Education

In 1990, a presidential decree established the National Committee against Excision (CNLPE), administered by the Ministry for Social Action and the Family. Since then, CNLPE has set up a 24-hour hotline for reporting FGM that has already occurred or is likely to occur. The hotline is accessible in rural areas as well as urban areas.  In cases where FGM has occurred, the parents and the practitioner are served notice to report to police, who have been trained and instructed to actively prevent FGM and arrest those who practice it. In cases where FGM is likely to occur, CNLPE educates the family about the harmful consequences and illegality of FGM. 

The government has also established a clinic specifically for women suffering from FGM-related complications, and another that provides clitoral repair services for FGM survivors. (See: Protecting Girls from Female Genital Mutilation and Harmful Practices: Challenges and Opportunities for Legal Intervention in Africa – Report of a Regional Workshop, Nairobi, 24-28 July 2006, p. 21. (Hereinafter Nairobi Regional Workshop))