National action plans and/or other national policy documents
The current national action plan (NAP) to combat FGM in Ireland was launched in May 2016. Developed by national civil society organisations led by AkiDwA, Towards a National Action Plan, 2016-19 is a follow-up to the first NAP (the National Action Plan to Address Female Genital Mutilation, 2008-11). The current NAP was developed under the European Commission’s Daphne project (Developing National Action Plans to Prevent and Eliminate Female Genital Mutilation).
In 2016 Ireland’s National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence (Cosc) launched the second national strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence, key strategies of which are to change societal attitudes, support victims and hold perpetrators to account. The strategy does not specifically refer to FGM, however as a form of gender-based violence, FGM should be included in all strategy goals, and should be highlighted in awareness-raising, training and education.
In November 2015, the EU Directive on establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime (Victims’ Rights Directive) came into effect in Ireland. The Directive establishes standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime.
There are currently no Irish FGM-specific multidisciplinary guidelines or medical protocols aimed at providing a more coordinated approach to the protection and support of women and girls affected by or at risk of FGM. Those guidelines used are provided by UNHCR. However, there is a need for efficient, multidisciplinary cooperation to ensure that the best interests of the child are a primary consideration in all actions undertaken in child protection.
In 2013, 15 Irish CSOs working with women and children formed a national steering committee against FGM, resulting in the second national action plan (NAP, referred to above). This second NAP is based on the framework of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention).