Call for stricter bans on gay conversion therapy in religious settings

Duncan MurrayNCA NewsWire
WA is under pressure to introduce a comprehensive ban on gay conversion therapy. NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman
Camera IconWA is under pressure to introduce a comprehensive ban on gay conversion therapy. NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman Credit: News Corp Australia

Advocates are calling for stricter bans on gay conversion therapies they say could still occur in religious settings despite government clamp downs.

They are calling for a complete ban on the practice - not just in medical settings, but in religious and educational contexts as well.

A legislative amendment is currently being considered by the Western Australian parliament to ban conversion therapy by implementing a national code of conduct for unregulated healthcare workers.

LGBTQA+ groups say the amendment would leave the door open for religious groups to carry out the practice which has historically caused untold grief and trauma for many of those who experienced it.

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Camera IconWA is under pressure to introduce a comprehensive ban on gay conversion therapy. NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman Credit: News Corp Australia

A state parliamentary inquiry is currently being held into the faith-based Esther Foundation women’s rehabilitation centre, which went into administration earlier this year following reports of mistreatment and abuse, including attempted gay conversion therapies.

In a joint submission to the inquiry, Ending Conversion Practices WA and Youth Pride Network said the government’s proposed changes would do “little to address the harm” by only banning the practice in medical settings.

“The absence of effective policy and regulation in relation to LGBTQA+ conversion practices can leave the door open for people to be exposed to proven harms and trauma caused by such practices,” the submission stated.

So far Victoria, Queensland and the ACT have complete bans on gay conversion therapies in all settings, punishable by fines and jail time.

The findings of the inquiry are due to be delivered to parliament in December of this year.

Originally published as Call for stricter bans on gay conversion therapy in religious settings

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