London wants to fight conversion therapy criminally

The British government is considering creating a criminal offence to combat conversion therapy, which claims to transform a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The plan, unveiled on Friday, October 29, calls for a prison sentence of up to five years for such practices.

This provision would apply to such practices against persons under 18 years of age in all circumstances, and to adults who have not freely consented to participate or have not been fully informed of their potential consequences. According to the government’s equality office, which initiated the project, the criteria on the issue of consent would be “robust and rigorous”. It considered that “the freedom of an adult to engage in such a process must be protected”, despite the fact that some believe that an adult cannot consent even if they are aware of the potential harm.

The government has launched a six-week public consultation until Dec. 9, and then plans to have its future law ready and in effect by next spring. “There should be no place for the abhorrent practice of coercive conversion therapy in our society,” said Equality Minister Liz Truss, denouncing an “archaic practice that has no place in modern life.”

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