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Can anybody cut, stitch or damage my vulva or vagina (girls’ private parts)?

In some cultures, people do things to damage girls’ or women’s private parts. This is called ‘female genital mutilation’ or sometimes ‘female circumcision’. In Victoria, the law says this is wrong.

Some examples of female genital mutilation can be:

  • Cutting or taking away any part of your private parts (this can be any part of the outside skin or the hole leading inside your body)
  • Stitching up any part of your private parts (for example, stitching up your vagina)
  • Any other thing that somebody does to damage your private parts

This is what the law in Victoria says about female genital mutilation:

  • Nobody (not even a doctor or family member) can do any of these things to you and your body. The law says that even if you or your parents or carers say it is OK, nobody can do these things.
  • Nobody can help somebody else do this to you or to anybody else.
  • Nobody can help find somebody to do this to you or to anybody else.
  • Nobody can take you or anybody else to another place in Australia or another country to do this to you.

Sometimes doctors do operations for girls and women to look after them. These operations are to help you with a health problem. They are different from female genital mutilation and the law says they are OK.

If female genital mutilation was done to you and you need help or information, you can contact the Family and Reproductive Rights Education Program or your doctor.

If somebody is trying to do female genital mutilation to you, or has already done it, you can report this problem to the police. It can help if you ask to speak to the Multicultural Liaison Officer at the police station.

Getting help with this

Royal Women’s Hospital, Corner Grattan Street and Flemington Road, Parkville VIC 3052
Phone:8345 3045
Website: http://www.thewomens.org.au/

Level 30 570 Bourke Street Melbourne Victoria 3000
Phone:(03) 8601 5200
Fax: (03) 8601 5219
Email: hsc@health.vic.gov.au
Website: http://www.health.vic.gov.au/hsc/