Conversion Therapy: Crime

Women and Equalities written question – answered on 26 November 2021.

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Photo of Feryal Clark Feryal Clark Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether her Department has plans to introduce a new criminal offence for people aiding and abetting the removal of a person from the UK for the purpose of sexual orientation or gender identity conversion therapy.

Photo of Mike Freer Mike Freer Assistant Whip, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade), Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Equalities)

This Government is committed to banning the practice of all coercive conversion therapy in this country. Our approach is to target practitioners and those who promote this abhorrent practice, while providing support to victims and those at risk. We are consulting on our proposals for how to legislate for a ban on conversion therapy until 10 December. Responses to the consultation will inform the Government’s final approach.

This Government wants to ensure that no one is taken abroad to undergo conversion therapy under any circumstance. Certain violent and sexual offences that could be committed in the course of conversion therapy, including rape and grievous bodily harm, already have extraterritorial effect so that, where appropriate, UK nationals and residents who commit those offences outside the UK may be prosecuted in the UK.

We also propose to introduce Conversion Therapy Protection Orders, which could set out certain conditions to protect a person from undergoing the practice overseas, including removing a passport for those at risk of being taken abroad or any requirement that the court considers necessary to protect that person.

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