Victoria is a step closer to stamping out so-called “gay conversion” therapists who claim to be able to cure homosexuality.
The ABC reports that under new legislation to be introduced to the state’s parliament, Victoria’s current Health Services Commissioner would be replaced with a new Health Complaints Commissioner who will be able to investigate unregistered doctors and other health service providers.
Victorian Health Services Minister Jill Hennessy said that the new commissioner would be able to crack down on a health provider before a patient makes a complaint.
“We’ve had a number of challenges in terms of the sorts of services people have been provided and no legislative tools to really respond to it,” she told the ABC.
“An example of some of the challenges we’ve seen in recent times – we’ve seen gay conversion therapists out there strutting their wares, we’ve seen unethical representations about treatments claimed to cure cancer that we know don’t work.”
The “gay conversion” or “ex-gay” therapies, which have included prayer groups, counselling, and exercises that resemble exorcisms, have been debunked and condemned as harmful by psychological associations in Australia and around the world.
“We have zero tolerance for any person purporting to be able to ‘convert’ gay people through medical or therapeutic means,” Ms Hennessy said in a statement.
“Any attempts to make people feel uncomfortable with their own sexuality is completely unacceptable.”