FGM is internationally considered a form of violence against women and girls and a violation of their human rights. It is an extremely harmful practice with devastating short and long-term health consequences for girls and women and has been unlawful in Scotland since 1985.
The purpose of the National Action Plan is to foster an environment of prevention in Scotland and to improve the welfare and quality of life of FGM survivors, with a focus on the linked areas of prevention, protecting girls at risk of FGM; and provision of appropriate support and sensitive services for survivors of FGM.
Our approach to tackling FGM is aligned with the overarching priorities of Equally Safe, Scotland's strategy to tackle all forms of violence against women and girls  , including FGM. This strategy recognises that because of systemic, deep rooted gender inequality, women and girls experience violence and abuse because of their gender and because they continue to occupy a subordinate position within society in relation to men. The Equally Safe draft delivery plan, contains specific commitments to tackle FGM.
Therefore this update should be viewed as linking with the objectives of the strategy as set out in the table below:
|Positive gender roles are promoted||Positive gender roles are promoted Women and girls are safe, respected and equal in our communities|
|People enjoy healthy, positive relationships and children develop an understanding of safe, healthy, and positive relationships from an early age||Individuals and communities recognise and challenge violent and abusive behaviour|
|Women and men have equal access to power and resources||Justice responses are robust, swift, consistent and coordinated|
|Women, children and young people access relevant, effective and integrated services||Men who carry out violence against women and girls are identified early and held to account by the justice system|
|Service providers competently identify violence against women and girls, and respond effectively to women, children and young people affected||Men who carry out violence against women and girls change their behaviour, and are supported to do so|
|Women, children and young people's voices are heard and their rights respected|
Following a series of multi-stakeholder round table events held over 2016, the Scottish Government established a Multi-Agency FGM National Action Plan Implementation Group to oversee progress against the actions and objectives of the plan.
The roundtable events were used to discuss the membership, terms of reference, action owners and reporting structure for the Implementation Group, with a broad range of stakeholders from statutory and third sector, and community based organisations.
These discussions reinforced the Scottish Government's position that progression of actions from the plan is predicated upon all stakeholders working in partnership to achieve a set of common goals.
The Implementation Group held its inaugural meeting in November 2016 and has met on a quarterly basis over the course of 2017. Group members have a broad range of skills and experience and are able to give practical assistance and strategic oversight to the work required to realise our ambitions in this agenda. It is this inclusive, partnership based approach that will allow us to progress the full range of actions and objectives set out in the plan.
To support this action plan investment of over £226,000 for the period 2016-2017 was made to progress actions. Further investment of over of £270,000 has been made for the 2017-2018. This funding supports interventions aimed at preventing FGM, supporting those affected, supporting collaborative working amongst partners in the statutory and third sectors to develop understanding and change attitudes in affected communities. This funding aligns directly with the objective under the theme of Prevention which states - Individuals and communities recognise the implications and are able to challenge FGM. It demonstrates clearly the Scottish Government's on-going commitment to increasing capacity in affected communities to challenge the practice.
A Multi Agency Writing Group, with membership from the statutory, third sector and community based organisations, has developed Multi Agency Guidance for agencies and organisations responding to and supporting those affected by FGM. This work recognises the need to ensure that statutory organisations equip their workforce with the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding to effectively identify and respond to FGM, identify risk and follow local procedures for reporting child and adult protection concerns. The Guidance will be published in 2017 and supports the objective under Provision - Service providers competently identify FGM, and respond effectively.