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AROUND one in four LGBT+ victims of sexual violence in Britain could have been assaulted by people trying to “convert or punish” them, new research revealed today.
Over 23 per cent of people surveyed for the LGBT+ anti-abuse charity Galop said they believe the sexual violence they had experienced was intended to convert or punish them for their sexual orientation or gender identity.
This rose to around a third if the victim was asexual, non-binary or trans.
Respondents aged 18 to 24 reported the highest levels of sexual violence with the intention to convert or punish their identity among all age groups.
This suggests the practices are current rather than purely historic, Galop said, and demonstrates the need for a ban on so-called conversion therapy “without delay.”
A public consultation, launched by the government last October, and extended for eight weeks in December, is due to close next week.
The government has said it is “absolutely determined” to introduce a ban but it wants to “hear all views on the best ways to do that.”
Galop chief executive Leni Morris said: “There are assumptions and stereotypes about victims of so-called conversion therapy, but our report shows this is happening to LGBT+ people of all cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds.
“It also shows clearly that there is a long history of this kind of abuse against our community — and that it is still happening right now in the UK today.”
Nelson, whose name has been changed, was frequently beaten and prayed over “to get the devil out of him.”
He was referred to Galop at the age of 17 after prolonged abuse from his family and church because they suspected he was gay.
The teenager, feeling “desperate and alone,” believed he would be sent back to Nigeria to marry a woman as soon as he finished his A-levels.
Former government adviser Jayne Ozanne, who survived 20 years of conversion therapy, said the findings were “truly shocking” and called for ministers to introduce a comprehensive ban with “no exceptions, no loopholes.”
She said: “Sexual violence in any form is totally abhorrent, but when it is done on the grounds of discrimination with an intent to force someone to change then it is doubly so.
“It is an act of evil that the government must move swiftly and decisively to stop.”
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