Topic: Violence and abuse

Prosecution of the offence of female genital mutilation/cutting in Norway

Lien, I. L. (2017). Prosecution of the offence of female genital mutilation/cutting in Norway. International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, 31(2), 191-206. doi:10.1093/lawfam/ebx003


More than 50 cases of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) have been reported to the Norwegian police over the last 10 years. None has resulted in a conviction. Lack of convictions relative to the number of estimated cases of FGM/C and girls at risk is an issue discussed in many European countries. In the study reported here, 20 out of 53 documented cases in the Norwegian police register have been analysed, and 20 policemen and 5 doctors interviewed. The study finds that there are many obstacles for police work when it comes to producing evidence that can be strong enough for building a case for the courts. Medical forensic experts as well as the Child Protection Services have important roles in the building of a case. This article analyses the challenges that they face, and their collaboration and interaction with the police. The processes of investigation and the action taken by the different systems are stressful and painful for the families and can be experienced as punishment by both guilty and innocent parents. The processes themselves can have a deterrent effect. The study finds that there are greater risks for traumatic stress and painful reactions when families have both cut and uncut daughters.