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The National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence.

An Oifig Náisiúnta um Fhoréigean Baile, Gnéasach agus Inscnebhunaithe a Chosc

  1. Female Genital Mutilation Treatment Service

Female Genital Treatment Service

 

A specialised clinic offering care and support to women and girls who have experienced Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) was launched in Dublin recently. This service is the first of its kind in the country and will be led by the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA), with the support of the HSE National Social Inclusion Office and AkiDwA - the Migrant Women’s Network.

FGM has been described by the World Health Organisation as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. The European Parliament resolution of 14 June 2012 on ending female genital mutilation confirmed this view and called on the Member States to take firm action to combat this illegal practice.

FGM has serious short and long-term health consequences, including harmful physical, psychological and emotional effects. Women and girls who have undergone the procedure have very specific health care needs and need access to specialist services and care that meet these needs.

The FGM clinic was established as one means of addressing these needs. The practice of FGM is estimated to affect more than 3,780 women and girls in Ireland between the ages of 15 and 45. As women and families from countries with high prevalence of FGM continue to migrate to Ireland, this number may be expected to increase. It is important that appropriate, responsive services at a primary care level are in place to provide necessary care and support to this cohort. Intervention at a primary care level will also facilitate reducing long term health implications.

The FGM service is based at the IFPA in Dublin city centre and will offer high quality medical care and professional counselling. Women attending the clinic will also be offered wider sexual and reproductive health services, including contraception advice, cancer screening and menopause check-ups.

Opening of the clinic is one of a range of actions aimed at providing responsive services to members of diverse ethnic and cultural groups. Such actions fall within the remit of the HSE National Intercultural Health Strategy. Within the context of FGM, actions that have been progressed include: development of resources for health professionals, leaflets aimed at informing the public, training of a range of health workers, and inclusion of FGM as a risk factor in National Maternity Record forms. HSE National Social Inclusion office provides funding to Akidwa around raising awareness of the effects of FGM and supporting women and girls to access appropriate services. A second National Action Plan to address FGM is currently being developed. This plan – a partnership of statutory and voluntary sectors - will identify outstanding issues and make further recommendations around resolving these.

The FGM Clinic will be promoted by the IFPA and AkiDwA through a series of outreach activities on women’s health among migrant communities. Information on the service will also be provided to GPs, hospitals and other health care providers.
 

Accessing the Clinic: The clinic is based at the IFPA Everywoman Centre in 5/7 Cathal Brugha Street, Dublin 1 and operates as a four hour drop-in service each Wednesday. Appointments can also be made through a dedicated phone line 085 8771342, or via referrals from GPs, hospitals and other health professionals.

Information in relation to the service may be found at http://www.ifpa.ie/Sexual-Health-Services/FGM-Treatment-Service

For further information: Diane Nurse, National Lead, HSE Social Inclusion at diane.nurse@hse.ie