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LGBTQ 'conversion therapy' helpline gets funding from the UK Government

The UK's leading anti-violence LGBT charity, Galop, set up the National Conversion Therapy Helpline in November.

2022-05-13

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Pexels

A helpline for people at risk or undergoing 'conversion therapy' in the UK is getting funding from the UK Government. 

The UK's leading anti-violence LGBT charity, Galop, set up the National Conversion Therapy Helpline in November.

It is accessible to the entire LGBTQ community and will now be able to expand its services to include a live-chat function and information service, as well as phone and email support.

"This practice has no place in modern society"

Once users make contact with the helpline, they will be provided with pastoral support, information, and tailored advice.

In a statement marking the announce on Friday (13 May) the Equalities minister, Mike Freer said: "Conversion therapy blights people’s lives, and it will never achieve its intended outcomes. This practice has no place in modern society and we are taking action to ensure it is banned in the UK.

"We have chosen Galop to deliver this new service as they can draw on their significant expertise to deliver a successful service that provides victims of conversion therapy with effective and compassionate support."

It is the first government-funded service of its kind in the world and as reported by the BBC will cost £300,000 to run. 

In a Twitter thread Galop said it would "continue to work for a conversion therapy ban for the entire LGBT+ community".

The announcement comes after the UK government included plans to ban 'conversion therapy' for the second time in the Queen's Speech on Tuesday (10 May). However, unlike last year's plan, trans people are being excluded. 

Briefing notes accompanying the speech clearly state that the purpose of a 'conversion therapy' bill would be to "Ban conversion therapy practices intended to change sexual orientation" only.

Additionally, the proposed legislation will not ban 'conversion therapy' for lesbian, gay, or bisexual adults who 'consent' to it, stating that the new law will "protect under-18s, regardless of circumstance, and over-18s who do not consent and who are coerced or forced to undergo conversion therapy practices."

The notes also say: "Recognising the complexity of issues and need for further careful thought, we will carry out separate work to consider the issue of Transgender Conversion Therapy further."

The National Conversion Therapy Helpline is accessible 10:00-16:00, Monday to Friday, via 0800 130 3335 or by emailing CThelp@galop.org.uk.

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