Female genital mutilation in children presenting to Australian paediatricians

Yvonne Zurynski, Amy Phu, Premala Sureshkumar, Sarah Cherian, Marie Deverell, Elizabeth J. Elliott, Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit Female Genital Mutilation Study Steering Committee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
44 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The WHO reports that female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is an ancient cultural practice prevalent in many countries. FGM/C has been reported among women resident in Australia. Our paper provides the first description of FGM/C in Australian children.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey conducted in April-June 2014.

SETTING: Paediatricians and other child health specialists recruited through the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit were asked to report children aged <18 years with FGM/C seen in the last 5 years, and to provide data for demographics, FGM/C type, complications and referral for each case.

PARTICIPANTS: Of 1311 eligible paediatricians/child health specialists, 1003 (76.5%) responded.

RESULTS: Twenty-three (2.3%) respondents had seen 59 children with FGM/C and provided detailed data for 31. Most (89.7%) were identified during refugee screening and were born in Africa. Three (10.3%) were born in Australia: two had FGM/C in Australia and one in Indonesia. All parents were born overseas, mainly Africa (98.1%). Ten children had WHO FGM/C type I, five type II, five type III and six type IV. Complications in eight children included recurrent genitourinary infections, menstrual, sexual, fertility and psychological problems. Nineteen children (82.6%) were referred to obstetrics/gynaecology: 16 (69.9%) to social work and 13 (56.5%) to child protection.

CONCLUSIONS: This study confirms that FGM/C is seen in paediatric clinical practice within Australia. Paediatricians need cultural awareness, education and resources to help them identify children with FGM/C and/or at risk of FGM/C, to enable appropriate referral and counselling of children, families and communities to assist in the prevention of this practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-515
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood
Volume102
Issue number6
Early online date12 Jan 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • General Paediatrics

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