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Two women have been charged by police in Western Australia for allegedly trying to organise the genital mutilation of a baby girl.
Detectives attached to the Child Abuse Squad launched an investigation into the matter when they learned the women were allegedly trying to organise the procedure on the two-week-old girl as part of their cultural beliefs.
A statement from Western Australia Police said: "The WA Police Force embraces the diversity provided by the many cultural and ethnic groups that form our community.
"Practices which may be acceptable by some cultures and in some countries may constitute criminal offences in Western Australia.
"It is an offence to commit female genital mutilation in Western Australia."
Police will allege back in January the two women approached a doctor to see if the medical professional was comfortable with the genital mutilation of the two-week-old baby.
The doctor refused to do the procedure.
As a result of those inquiries, police were able to charge a 23-year-old and 50-year-old woman, who are from a suburb that falls within the Cannington Police District.
They have both been charged with one count of Conspiracy to Commit Indictable (Principal) Offence.
They are set to appear in the Armadale Magistrates Court today (March 12).
Australia's most powerful court ruled in 2019 that all forms of female genital mutilation were illegal. Not only is it illegal to be performed in the country, but it's also illegal for someone to travel to another country and have it done.
Australia's High Court heard a heated debate over the words 'mutilation' and 'clitoris', with the ambiguity previously being used to help acquit people who were convicted of the crime.
Chief Justice Susan Kiefel and Justice Patrick Keane said in a joint judgment (via the Canberra Times): "This broader construction ... would best promote the purpose or object of prohibiting such procedures generally.
"On the Court of Criminal Appeal's construction, it may be taken as intended that even if a child might suffer a painful and distressing experience, no offence is committed unless some defect of damage is apparent."
The tradition is considered a rite of passage in some cultures that helps a girl become a woman, however the illegality of the practice often causes procedures to be done with limited equipment, knowledge or support and can cause serious health issues.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released a report revealing around 53,000 Australian girls and women who were born overseas have been subjected to female genital mutilation.
The World Health Organization believes around 200 million girls and women are alive today and have experienced some type of genital mutilation.
Featured Image Credit: Western Australia Police
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