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FGM Bill receives second reading

Bill would enable interim care orders in FGM cases

The Children Act 1989 (Amendment) (Female Genital Mutilation) Bill has received its second reading in the House of Lords. It will proceed to committee on a date to be announced.

This Private Members' Bill, sponsored by Lord Berkeley of Knighton, seeks to amend the Children Act 1989 to state that proceedings under Section 5A of, and Schedule 2 to, the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 are family proceedings.

The purpose of the proposed amendment is to enable the courts to make interim care orders under the Children Act 1989 in child cases relating to FGM, in addition to FGM protection orders. If a court was satisfied that there were reasonable grounds for believing that the child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm, an interim care order could be made. The interim care order would mean that a local authority would have shared parental responsibility for the child concerned until a final hearing.

At present, provisions under the Children Act 1989 enable interim care orders to be made only in certain 'family proceedings' as defined by the Act. These 'family proceedings' do not currently include proceedings under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003—which Lord Berkeley's Bill seeks to change.

For the Bill as introduced, click here. For the second reading debate, click here. For a research briefing, prepared by the House of Lords Library in anticipation of the second reading debate, click here. To follow progress of the Bill, click here.