Norfolk MP proposes ban of forced conversion therapy

Newly-appointed Foreign Secretary Liz Truss leaves Number 10 Downing Street, as Prime Minister Boris

Liz Truss, foreign secretary and minister for women and equalities - Credit: PA

A Norfolk MP is proposing to make forced conversion therapy into a criminal offence, calling it "abhorrent and archaic".

Liz Truss, foreign secretary and minister for women and equalities, has proposed a set of measures to ban the practice to protect LGBTQ+ people in England and Wales, including children.

Mrs Truss, who is the MP for South West Norfolk, wants to ensure individuals found guilty of forced conversion therapy offences are stripped of profits and sentenced to up to five years in prison.

Under the new legislation, conversion therapy will be considered forced to under-18s under any circumstance and to adults who have not freely consented.

For adults who can freely consent the practice will remain legal.

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) said: "The freedom for an adult to enter such an arrangement should be protected”.

The GEO said it is "determined to ensure that no person is put on a clinical pathway that is not right for them, and that young people are supported in exploring their identity without being encouraged towards one particular path." 

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Civil measures are also planned which could remove the passports of those at risk of being taken overseas, prevent the promotion of conversion therapies and support victims and those at risk.

Mrs Truss said: “There should be no place for the abhorrent practice of coercive conversion therapy in our society.

“I want everyone to be able to love who they want and be themselves...stop appalling conversion therapies and make sure LGBT people can live their lives free from harm or abuse."

Shadow women and equalities secretary Anneliese Dodds said: “It’s been over three years since the Conservatives promised to ban conversion therapies, but it’s astonishing that these proposals leave the door ajar for people to “consent” to these insidious practices.”

The government has launched a six-week public consultation which will close on December 10, after which it will prepare and introduce legislation by spring 2022.

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