20180314 KS 3900 RSSPRINGFIELD – To combat the alarming rise of female genital mutilation in the nation, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant passed a measure that would give survivors the means to pursue justice.

Bertino-Tarrant passed House Bill 3498, which removes the statute of limitations for the prosecution for female genital mutilation also known as FGM, if the victim is under 18 years of at the time of the offense.

“Survivors of FGM are often too young to report this horrific crime,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “The repercussions of it are lifelong, and so there should be no statute of limitations. This measure will allow them time and assure them that justice does not have an expiration date.”

Under current law, the statute of limitations for FGM is three years, which is the standard for a felony offense. Long thought to be a foreign problem, Bertino-Tarrant stressed that FGM is happening in Illinois. It is estimated that 10,000 to 25,000 women and girls have been cut or are at risk for being cut.

Procedures are mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and adolescence, and occasionally on adult women.

“This painful and dangerous procedure is often performed at an extremely young age,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We need to allow young girls to come forward in their own time and allow them to receive the support they need and deserve.”

The measure was supported by the Illinois National Organization for Women.

According to CNN in 2017, currently only 25 states in the nation have laws that make FGM a crime.

House Bill 3498 passed the Senate with unanimous support and now heads back to the House for approval before being sent to the governor.

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