Liz Truss – 2021 Statement on Conversion Therapy

The statement made by Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, in the House of Commons on 29 October 2021.

This Government are committed to building a society in which the abhorrent practice of so called “conversion therapy” no longer takes place. It is clear that, at present, gaps remain in the law that allow damaging practices to continue.

Today we take another step towards ending that, as we launch a public consultation on how we plan to ban these practices. The consultation will be open for six weeks, closing on Friday 10 December, and we encourage as many people as possible to contribute their views.

The consultation can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/banning-conversion-therapy

Conversion therapy does not work and can cause long lasting damage. The Government are determined to protect LGBT people from this harm.

I also want to reassure those who may have concerns about the impact of this ban on clinicians’ independence, as well as on freedom of speech. Core freedoms, such as freedom of choice, speech and belief, are central to these proposals. It is vitally important that no person is forced or coerced into conversion therapy, and that young people are supported in exploring their identity without being encouraged towards one particular path. We will continue to protect under-18s from being channelled into irreversible decisions. These proposals do not alter the existing clinical regulatory framework or the independence of regulated clinicians working within their professional obligations.

Equality Ministers and our officials have already heard views from a wide range of stakeholders, including victims of conversion therapy, LGBT organisations, faith groups, psychiatric and counselling bodies. Their experiences and advice have helped shape our proposals, and we now welcome the views of stakeholders and the wider public on our next steps.

The consultation seeks views on a comprehensive package of proposed measures. These include a new criminal offence as well as sentence uplifts for existing criminal offences. We will also introduce conversion therapy protection orders, remove revenue streams from organisations which offer these practices and restrict the promotion of conversion therapies online.

It is also vital that those who have been subject to or are at risk of these abhorrent practices receive the support they need. This Administration are the first UK Government to commit to providing such support. We will therefore be launching a competitive tendering process in November for a new Government-funded support service for victims and those at risk of conversion therapy.

After the consultation has closed, results will be analysed, for publication in due course, and will inform the Government’s next steps in preparing legislation for spring 2022.

I am laying the consultation document as a Command Paper today and it will be available on gov.uk for people to respond to.