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Welsh Government reinforces LGBTQ+ safe haven commitment

Llywodraeth Cymru yn cadarnhau ei hymrwymiad i wneud Cymru yn 'hafan ddiogel' i bobl LHDTC+

The Welsh Government is reinforcing its commitment to making Wales a ‘safe haven’ for LGBTQ+ people by providing the first in-person support service for victims and survivors of conversion practices, Social Justice Secretary Lesley Griffiths has said on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (Friday 17 May).

The Welsh Government is partnering with Galop to deliver the new service which will also offer crucial information and resources for organisations looking to support LGBTQ+ people.

‘Conversion practices’ refer to any form of treatment, behaviour or psychotherapy aiming to change a person's sexual orientation or to suppress a person's gender identity.

A growing network of organisations have pledged to help survivors and people vulnerable to LGBTQ+ conversion practices access support.

The in-person support service is expected to be launched later this year.

Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and Social Justice, said: “This new service is a first for Wales and will support survivors and victims of conversion practices.  It is part of our wider commitment to improving the rights of LGBTQ+ people.

“Organisations throughout Wales have a crucial role in working with us to support the LGBTQ+ community and I encourage them to register their interest in helping us.

“Work continues to ensure steps are in place for the service to be available later this year.”

Amy Roch, Galop’s Interim CEO said, “We are delighted to be working with the Welsh government to provide direct support to LGBT+ victims of conversion practices in Wales.

“Galop’s research shows that conversion practice abuse is a significant and ongoing issue. The psychological, emotional and physical trauma of conversion practices has serious and long-term impacts on its victims. We know that survivors of this abuse need long-term, expert support to help them move on from what has happened to them, and ensure that they are safe and able to fulfil their potential.

“We’re grateful to the Welsh Government for ensuring that LGBT+ survivors of conversion practices have somewhere to turn for support.”

Tony Smith, Principality Building Society’s Chief Governance Officer, said: “We are proud to work with Welsh Government and other partners, in their efforts to make Wales a safe haven for all.

“At Principality Building Society, we believe that a diverse workforce, that reflects the communities we serve, is key to our success as a business. Our goal is to ensure that we provide an inclusive workplace for all our colleagues with a culture focused on celebrating diversity, acceptance and a sense of belonging.”

The Welsh Government commitment to support victims and survivors of conversion practices comes as part of the LGBTQ+ Action Plan for Wales in 2023, which saw the creation of a Working Group on Banning Conversion Practices.

The Group advises on proposed actions to ban conversion practices in Wales. The Action Plan was drawn up as part of a co-operation agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru, set out the government’s aims to improve all aspects of the rights and protections of LGBTQ+ people in Wales.

Notes to editors

‘Conversion practices’, sometimes known as ‘conversion therapy’, is used as an umbrella term to describe harmful interventions of a wide-ranging nature, all of which are premised on the misconception, or on the predetermined purpose, that a person’s sexual orientation and/or gender, including gender identity, can be changed, “cured”, or suppressed.

If you or somebody you know is experiencing conversion practices, get free, confidential support from Galop’s National Conversion Therapy Support Service or call their helpline on 0800 130 3335.

There are other support services  who specialise in helping victims of abuse. These include the Victim Support’s Wales Hate Support Centre and Live Fear Free.

Alternatively, there are other support services you can contact who specialise in helping victims of abuse. These include: