Information is limited on the prevalence of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in Australia and the health-care needs and service use of girls and women who are affected. A preliminary estimate, based on available data, suggests there could be over 50,000 women and girls living in Australia who may have undergone FGM/C. This estimate is based, however, on several assumptions and data limitations.
This report identifies and discusses what relevant data sources exist in Australia, the potential service contexts in which data are (or could be) captured, and what steps might be taken to improve their systematic collection.
The barriers and limitations inherent in collecting data on a sensitive and complex issue such as FGM/C limit the prospects for improving routinely collected data at a national level; however, there are some opportunities to enhance and develop data, particularly relating to service provision.
The National Hospital Morbidity Database (NHMD) is one national data source providing some information on FGM/C. This report presents data from the NHMD from 2015–16 to 2017–18 on the 477 episodes of admitted patient care where FGM/C was recorded as relevant to the care a patient received (primarily related to childbirth).
This is the second report on FGM/C in Australia published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the first being Towards estimating the prevalence of female genital mutilation/cutting in Australia (AIHW 2019a).