So-called “conversion therapy” is alive and well in the UK today. A significant proportion of young people in our service are experiencing abuse aimed at changing or “curing” who they are. We see the abuse victims of these so-called ‘conversion therapies’ go through and the lifelong repercussions it can have on its victims. It is imperative that we ban these practices and make sure that the victims are protected and supported to recover.
Being LGBT+ is not an illness and we do not need to be cured. We welcome the Government’s move to ban so-called “conversion therapy”, and this consultation is the first step on that journey. We are glad to see the proposed provisions for protection orders to help victims to safety, and the recognition of the breadth of these practices – from psychological to physical abuse.
A ban must also ensure that victims fleeing their homes to escape abuse are given appropriate, safe, emergency housing. We must be careful to create legislation that protects all LGBT+ victims – including those who have been taught to believe that suppressing who they are is their only option. Those victims, and all LGBT+ people, deserve and need affirming support to help them move forward and live openly as who they are.
We also recognise that the consultation itself, and the accompanying media coverage, will be difficult for the LGBT+ community, and particularly for the victims of these abuses. Today, we launch a National Conversion Therapy Helpline to support any victims, survivors, or people at risk of so-called “conversion therapies” in the UK. For anyone finding the news today difficult, the Helpline is open on 0800 130 3335 and via email on CThelp@galop.org.uk.