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The BMJ have an open access series. Open access means that the article/research is free to access. Open access results in a wider audience than the journal usual distribution list being able to access content.


On Tuesday 2nd April, we received notification that in Issue 9 Volume 4 of the BMJ, there was an article addressing Female genital cutting in Malaysia: a mixed-methods study.

FGM – female genital mutilation, is often referred to as FGC female genital cutting. Read more here.

The aim of the research was to identify the rationale for FGM being undertaken from the perspectives of those areas of community involved in the practice as well as looking at the impact of the medicalisation of the practice.

Whilst this study was not undertaken looking at the Australian setting, its relevance is in creating understanding of the diverse views that may occur around this issue across cultures and within communities.  As well as raising awareness to the views and customs that may accompany women and families when they emigrate to Australia, or that are passed down through generations.

Whilst the practice of FGM or FGC is illegal in Australia, it is still a variation in health that midwives will likely encounter over the period of their practice (from women who emigrate to Australia). You can read more about the law in Australia here.

The ACM have been engaged with NETFA (the National Education Toolkit for FGM/C team) who have developed a number of fabulous resources to help health practitioners identify FGM/C and then work with the women to provide the best possible health care options.  You can find out more about NETFA and their resources here.

We believes this is an important topic for midwives to incorporate into their learning.

We have a number of resources you can access below:

Female Genital Mutilation - Resources for Midwives 

The FGM Learning website is a joint venture between the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) & Australian College of Midwives (ACM) project funded/supported by the Australian Government.

The website aims to provide a national hub where nurses, midwives and other health professionals can access continuing professional development resources related to female genital mutilation, and network with each other to share CPD/learning resources and information.

Webinar Recording: Female Genital Mutilation, Women’s Health Rights and Crime Prevention

The history of FGM in Australia, the drawbacks of estimated data and provides an analysis of international law and domestic legislation in the context of FGM. A particular focus is taken on Women’s Health and the law and the role that midwives can play in protocols and procedures to identify women who have suffered FGM or children at risk.  FGM law is a blunt instrument that focusses on reactive procedures after a child has been cut. Although awareness has been raised, Australia can only eradicate FGM by taking a health and human rights response, collecting meaningful data and prioritising crime prevention.

About the Presenter - Felicity Gerry QC is Queen’s Counsel in London and Darwin specialising in human rights and the vulnerable in the context of transnational and domestic law, individual or corporate responsibility.


So where to from here….

  1. Why not start with REFLECTING on what you know about FGM.  Have you ever worked with a woman who has had FGM? Do you know where to get resources?  
  2. Your next step might be to READ other research or access resources, such as the links in this article (you could do a critical review of any research you find and determine whether it is worth sharing...). 
  3. Alternatively you could start off with WATCHING our Webinar Recording above. You can ACCESS the webinar directly in Midwives Learn from here as long as you have the Self-enrolment access key (Members only benefit).  The access key can be found on the member benefits pages.  Remember, you no longer need to go via the shop and purchase the recording (as you used to need to), but if you do go that way, you must remember to log in to your member portal or you will only see the non member pricing. Non-members you will need to make a purchase from the shop.
  4. When you have come full circle in your enquiry, dont forget to REFLECT on what you have learnt (about yourself, your practice and the evidence (or lack of) that is out there).  You may consider just writing it for yourself, or sharing it with your peers.  We have some reflective activity templates you might like to use as a start here

Additional information
The Australian College of Midwives (ACM) is the peak professional body for midwives in Australia who are registered with, and regulated by, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA). The ACM’s position is that women be attended during pregnancy, birth and postnatally by a midwife who is registered with the NMBA.