Prevalence of women and girls affected by FGM in Belgium

Estimation of the prevalence of girls and women who have undergone or are at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation in Belgium, 2018
Updated 31st December

Promoter: Institute for Equality of Women and Men and SPF Public Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment
Main researchers: Dominique Dubourg, Fabienne Richard

Justification of the study
According to UNICEF, at least 200 million girls and women currently living in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia have undergone some form of genital mutilation: clitoridectomy, excision or infibulation (1). Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a human rights violation and a form of gender-based violence that can lead to many physical and psychological complications throughout life. For families living in Europe, the practice continues, to a lesser extent, during holidays in the country of origin or in the territory of the host country. In 2001, Belgium passed a specific law punishing FGM (Article 409 of the Penal Code). The problem has several components, because it is not only a question of protecting girls who are at risk of this practice, but also of taking care of the gynaeco-obstetrical and psychosexual complications of those who have undergone the procedure may have.

The last prevalence study focused on the situation as of December 31, 2012. It had shown a doubling of prevalence in 5 years with an estimate of 13,112 girls and women already undergone FGM and 4,084 at risk (5).

These past two years, the Belgium had to deal with a migration crisis with an influx of Iraqi and Syrian families and African families from Somalia and Eritrea, countries with a high prevalence of FGM. A new study is needed to update the data that will better target the actions of the services involved in the protection of girls and the support of women already affected by FGM.

Objectives of the study
This quantitative study aims to update the 2012 data on the prevalence of female genital mutilation in Belgium.
The objectives of this study are to update the data on:
• The number of excused girls and women living in Belgium
• The number of girls at risk of FGM living in Belgium
• The target population of the various medico-social services affected by female genital mutilation.

Download here:  20180302_FGM_PrevalenceStudy_12-pages_FR (short version in French)

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