New South Wales Hikes Penalty for Female Genital Mutilation to 21 Years

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By Vittorio Hernandez | February 6, 2014 10:21 AM EST

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To further curb the illegal practice of female genital mutilation, the New South Wales government upped the penalty by increasing it to 21 years prison term from 7 years.

The Australian state also closed a loophole by making it an offence to bring a girl out of NSW to have the procedure done elsewhere, whether in Australia or other countries, said NSW Community Services Minister Pru Goward.

Minister for Communities Victor Dominello admitted the state's difficulty in knowing the extent of the problem because of the silence involving victims and perpetrators.

NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner added that cases go undetected for years and are only discovered when the victim reaches adulthood and undergoes gynecological examination when she becomes pregnant.

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He described female genital mutilation as a barbaric practice from the dark ages, and added the new law is a clear signal that NSW has zero tolerance for the practice.

Ms Goward added that the tougher law covers medical practitioners, quacks or relatives of a girl who bought a plane ticket for the procedure to be done outside NSW, and they would face severe penalty.

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