UniSA child protection expert Professor Freda Briggs has criticised the views of departmental officials in the report, saying the practice is illegal torture and the perpetrators should be charged immediately by police, without any sensitivity.
The report, carried out by other UniSA child protection experts and commissioned by the Department of Families and Communities, found a number of child abuse workers identified "excessive physical discipline" and "female genital mutilation" which required "sensitive responses from Families SA when dealing with these issues".
"While some staff see that (mutilation) as very wrong, we need to be very sensitive how we deal with that issue," the report states.
But Professor Briggs said this attitude was unacceptable. "This is an offence against Australian law and they should throw the book at them – there is no shade of grey in this," she said.
Female genital mutilation to remove in part or entirely external genitalia is practised in African, South American, Asian and Middle Eastern countries, but is banned in Australian law.
Professor Briggs said a tolerance of the practice had even led to mainstream doctors carrying out the practice for fear that it would otherwise be done by family members.
"When it comes to children there is just no excuse and refugees must be told it is just not on, even if it means the children are sent home to have the procedure carried out," she said.
A spokesman for Families and Communities Minister Jennifer Rankine said the views were those of individuals, not necessarily the department.
Source: Adelaide Now