The Government Equalities Office held a consultation on proposals to end so-called conversion therapy, an abusive practice used to attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Building on the work carried out on this so far by Galop, Solace submitted a response to this consultation, supporting the Government’s proposal to ban physical acts of so-called conversion therapy. It is a form of abuse which often includes types of abuse linked to domestic abuse, including physical, sexual, verbal, psychological and emotional abuse. In our response, we made the following key recommendations:
So-called conversion therapy should be recognised as a form of abuse, and statutory services should receive training to help recognise and support victims of this.
“Talking” conversion therapy should be banned alongside “physical” conversion therapy, as this can still cause significant harm to the victim.
The Government should set up face-to-face advocacy services alongside victim support provided by specialist LGBT+ and ‘by and for’ organisations to support victims.
The ban on conversion therapy should be extended to cover religious or faith-based settings offering this through non-physical practices, including prayer healing, faith declarations and religious conversion courses.
Conversion therapy protection orders should be introduced with similar powers to female genital mutilation (FGM) protection orders, including surrendering a passport to prevent a person at risk from being taken abroad for conversion therapy.