A Dundee charity has been asked to help shape new laws on female genital mutilation (FGM).
Dundee International Women’s Centre (DIWC) is taking an active role in helping bring down the “cloak of secrecy” surrounding the practice.
Among the measures being looked at by the Scottish Government include protection orders to stop women and girls at risk of the violent practice being taken abroad as well as statutory guidance for healthcare professionals.
And the DIWC will soon be hosting a consultation event on the proposed changes.
The charity’s former chief executive Caroline McKenna said earlier this year that they had seen children as young as eight in Dundee subjected to FGM.
DIWC offers training to healthcare professionals to spot early signs of the practice within women in black and ethnic minorities.
Fatima Ramzan, who works directly with potential victims and offers training to health professionals, says victims should be put at the heart of the consultation.
She said: “It is so important as part of this process that those women who have been subjected to female genital mutilation have the chance to shape this bill.
“There is so much shame and stigma around this topic that many women never speak about it, but it has a horrendous effect on their physical and mental health for the rest of their lives.
“The concept has a cloak of secrecy around it and we may never know its full extent.
“At DIWC we are training health professionals to speak openly to patients from communities more at risk, and to aim to prevent this happening to any girls and women in Scotland.
“The impact is far greater than holding up the value of the cultural practice.”