Legislation proposed to ban conversion practices must be full and comprehensive, covering any attempts to change a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation, according to a Holyrood committee.

In a report on a petition to the Parliament, the Equalities, Human Rights & Civil Justice Committee states that Scotland should not wait to hear UK Government proposals before pursuing its own legislation within the powers available to the Scottish Parliament and Government.

In its Programme for Government 2021-22, the Scottish Government stated its commitment to banning conversion therapy and that it would bring forward "legislation that is as comprehensive as possible within devolved powers by the end of 2023, if UK Government proposals do not go far enough".

The report recommends that the definition of conversion practices in any proposed law makes it clear that there is no such thing as informed consent to the practice and that it cannot be used as a defence by those carrying it out.

Noting that the majority of religious organisations support a ban, the Committee also agrees that legislation should not restrict ordinary religious teaching or the right of people to take part in prayer or pastoral care to discuss, explore or come to terms with their identity in a non-judgmental and non-directive way.

The committee wishes to learn more about the role of the Expert Advisory Group on conversion practices established by the Scottish Government, with a view to exploring how best to bring forward a ban as quickly as possible.

Committee convener Joe FitzPatrick MSP commented: "It is clear from our scrutiny that it is happening in Scotland and existing legislation is not strong enough to prevent it.

"Nobody can consent to conversion practices. Any attempt to change someone’s gender or sexuality is wrong and that is why we believe that nothing less than a complete ban will suffice."

Click here to access the report.