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The Use of Sexual Violence as an Attempt to Convert or Punish LGBT+ People in the UK

Galop’s report on The Use of Sexual Violence as an Attempt to Convert or Punish LGBT+ People in the UK shows that 1 in 4 LGBT+ respondents to a sexual violence survey experienced sexual assault intended to convert or punish them for their identity.

The UK’s LGBT+ anti-abuse charity Galop asked 935 LGBT+ survivors of sexual assault: “At any age, have you experienced sexual violence that you believed was intended to convert you to heterosexuality or your assigned gender at birth, or to punish you for your gender or sexual identity?”, and almost 1 in 4 (24%) reported back that they had.

This figure increased when the victim was asexual (34%), non-binary (32%), a trans man (35%) or a trans woman (30%).

As the Government prepares to close its conversion therapy consultation, the leading LGBT+ charity is warning that previous assumptions about conversion therapy cases in the UK may be missing the whole picture.

Conversion therapy is defined as practices that have the predetermined outcome to change, “cure”, or suppress an individual or group of individuals’ orientation or gender identity.

It is currently unclear whether ace, non-binary and intersex people will be protected under the Government’s proposed conversion therapy ban. The charity is calling for people to respond to the government’s consultation on the conversion therapy ban to ensure it protects every member of the community from this abuse in all its forms.

Leni Morris, Galop’s CEO, says:

“This is the largest study of LGBT+ victims of sexual violence in the UK to date, and the results we’ve found relating to conversion and punishment show that this is a significant and ongoing issue.

“There are assumptions and stereotypes about victims of so-called conversion therapy, but our report shows this is happening to LGBT+ people of all cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds. It also shows clearly that there is a long history of this kind of abuse against our community – and that it is still happening right now in the UK today.

“Our services work with current cases of sexual violence perpetrated within victims’ communities, forced marriages, and attempts to arrange sexual assaults to be perpetrated by third parties to ‘convert’ the victim.

“These findings underline the need for a complete ban on conversion practices, which must include protection for every victim in the LGBT+ community. Please take 30 minutes to fill out the consultation to ensure that we get the ban we need.”