"Conversion therapy does not belong in Sheffield or anywhere in the world," says council executive member

A Sheffield Council executive member said conversion therapy is “absolutely abhorrent” and does not belong in Sheffield or anywhere in the world.

Saturday, 19th June 2021, 7:00 am

It comes as Chrissy Meleady, chief executive of Equalities and Human Rights UK, highlighted an increase in cases in Sheffield in recent years and called on the council to designate Sheffield as the first conversion therapy free city.

At a full council meeting this week, she said: “We have thousands of people within our community who are survivors and who are victims of conversion therapies here in Sheffield and we have been dealing with them over a number of years. This is not a new subject for us, I have raised it repeatedly with the local authority over a number of years, including with senior officers and also with some politicians to no avail.

“The question that I’m posing today has been formulated by some of the victims and survivors and is as follows: conversion therapy in all its forms is a safeguarding issue, local authorities have a statutory duty and partnership with health to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of local people and communities…

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“What are Sheffield City Council doing to safeguard people from conversion therapy in all its forms and what action is being taken to designate Sheffield as a conversion therapy free city?

“We have members of our community from all different ages who have wanted to die by suicide, others who have died by suicide, others who are self-harming because of conversion therapy which is taking place under our roof and it is something that is abhorrent and shouldn’t be taking place in Sheffield.”

Councillor Jayne Dunn, executive member for education, children and families, said: “I personally do not support conversion therapy and I know that my colleagues don’t.

“We don’t commission any conversion therapy as a council, any issues you have please forward them on to me and I, with my colleague George Lindars-Hammond, will make sure they are investigated and we will discuss the options you have put forward as a group as well.

“I support everything you said. It’s absolutely abhorrent and it doesn’t belong in a city like Sheffield, it doesn’t belong anywhere in the world. So I completely support you on that.”

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