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Faith leaders part of an expert group to advise Scottish government on conversion therapy ban

by Premier Journalist

Faith groups and communities will be part of an expert group set up to advise the Scottish government on how to ban conversion therapy. 

Representatives from LGBTI organisations, mental health professionals and academics and people with personal experiences of conversion therapy will also be part of the group. 

The announcement comes as the Scottish government committed to ban the practice by 2023. 

It is understood the group will recommend an agreed definition of conversion practices, advise on support for victims and survivors and draw together existing data and evidence on conversion practices, among other tasks.

Speaking about the new advisory group, social justice secretary Shona Robison said: "We are clear about the need to end conversion practices in Scotland - ensuring that everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, is safe from them. These practices are harmful, discriminatory, and have no place in our society." 

She continued: "We will explore how legislation can best protect and support those who need it, while ensuring that freedoms - including freedoms of speech, religion, and belief - are safeguarded.

"We are also considering what non-legislative steps we can take to end conversion practices, and support survivors."

Earlier this year, the Scottish Government launched a public consultation asking for people's views on whether conversion therapy should be banned or not after a petition signed by more than 5,500 people called on the Scottish government to use its devolved powers to ban the practice. 

The group will begin its work early next year and alongside recommendations from the Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee and other evidence and research, will inform the Scottish Government's approach.

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