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53 cases of genital mutilation reported in Norway over ten years, with no convictions

Genital mutilationGenital mutilation


In the past ten years, 53 cases of illegal circumcision of women and girls in Norway were reported, but nobody was punished.


‘It isn’t a criminal offence to be circumcised in Norway. It is only criminal when parents living in Norway take their daughter abroad to be circumcised,’ said Inger-Lise Lien, a researcher at the Norwegian Knowledge Center for Violence and Traumatic stress, to NRK news.


She has examined all of the 53 cases during the ten-year period, and interviewed forensic officers who’d investigated the children’s’ cases, and also the police about their experiences with the cases they’d dealt with.


The police often lack witnesses in cases where circumcision has been carried out abroad. Thus, they don’t have sufficient proof to make prosecutions. Still, Lien said that police work, and the law, had achieved some positive results.

‘Although no cases went before the courts, the law still works, because it creates a lot of stress for families who are considering the practice. They get both child welfare services and the police at the front door, and undergo a long process of being suspects, and being called in for questioning. A lot happens, and sometimes there are child care officers too’, said Lien.

Critics have argued that if the French are able to make it illegal for a girl to wear long sleeved tops and long-legged swimming suits at the beach, surely it is possible for the Norwegian judiciary to make it illegal to medically  mutilate a young female child’s genital organs in Norway, as well as abroad.


© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today