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Female Circumcision is illegal in Australia

Female circumcision is the deliberate cutting or altering of the external female genital organs. Female circumcision is sometimes referred to as Female Genital Cutting or Female Genital Mutilation/ Cutting. FGM/C has no health benefit to women and girls and can have an impact on their sexual and reproductive health.

The practice of FGM/C is illegal in every state and territory of Australia. This includes performing FGM/C on a child that lives in Australia while they are overseas. Each state and territory has its own version of these laws. There are serious consequences for practising FGM/C in Australia.

In Australia it is against the law to:

In Australia the law forbids a person to:

In Australia a person is breaking the law if they:

In Australia female circumcision carries a penalty of up to 21 years imprisonment.

Health Impacts of female circumcision

There can be short and long term health impacts of female circumcision. These may include:

The origin of Female Circumcision is unknown and has no religious significance. Types of female circumcision vary between communities and ethnic groups. Countries around the world are abandoning the practice and making it illegal. It is important for us to talk about our cultural practices. We love our culture but we can leave behind practices that can cause harm.

Support Services in Australia

To have control over and protect our own bodies, we all need to be treated with dignity and respect. This is everyone’s right as a human being. There is support, advice and information available across all states and territories on female circumcision in Australia. See below to contact your nearest service provider:


Esther Lam

CALD Liaison Nurse

ACT Health

T: 02 6205 1078


New South Wales

Linda George

Senior Health Education Officer

NSW Education Program on FGM

T: 02 9840 3910


Northern Territory

Kirsten Thompson


Family Planning & Welfare

T: 08 8948 0144



Odette Tewfik

Multicultural Women’s Health Project Coordinator

True: Relationships & Reproductive Health

T: 07 3250 0250



Xavier Lane-Mullins

Community Development Worker

Red Cross

T: 03 6235 6001


Michou Kadima

Community Development Worker

Red Cross

T: 03 6326 0400


South Australia

Kim Voss

Social Worker

Women’s Health Central

T: 08 8444 0700



Medina Idriess


Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health

T: 1800 656 421


Western Australia

Carol Kaplanian

FGM & FDV Research

Project Officer

Women and Newborn

Health Service

T: 08 9340 1557


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