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Dutch government wants to make conversion therapy a criminal offence

Dutch government wants to make conversion therapy a criminal offence

Dutch government wants to make conversion therapy a criminal offence

A large majority in the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) has supported a motion calling for homosexual conversion therapy to be made a criminal offence in the Netherlands

D66 motion to ban conversion therapy in the Netherlands

The motion was presented by D66 MP Vera Bergkamp and has received the support of her own party as well as GroenLinks, the Labour Party (PvdA), and the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). The cabinet must now present a bill over the coming months which will enforce a ban on conversion therapy. 

A similar motion was presented in 2019, but was ultimately unsuccessful due to a lack of support from the Christian parties (CDA, CU, and SGP), the Party for Freedom (PVV), and Forum for Democracy (FvD). 

Bill likely to be presented following March elections

Bergkamp, a former chair of the Dutch gay rights organisation COC, also feels it’s important that those subjected to so-called “homo-healing therapies” (homogenezingstherapie) have a way of reporting their status as a victim. Given the timing of the motion, it is likely the bill will be brought in by the new government following the elections in March, but Bergkamp hopes the current administration can already prepare the bill given the “very broad support” in the House of Representatives.

According to research, the are currently 15 organisations or people in the Netherlands offering conversion therapy and similar pseudoscientific practices, most of which concern associations of people who are associated with strict Christian movements. According to Bergkamp, the research has only uncovered the tip of the iceberg: “I fight for people to be able to be themselves visibly, this barbaric therapy is at odds with that.”

Victoria Séveno

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Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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