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Conversion Practice Survivors Needed For Pioneering Research Into Harm And Recovery

Conversion practice survivors are needed to contribute to pioneering research to better understand the harm caused by the practices and how to best support survivor recovery.

Te Kāhui Tika Tangata Human Rights Commission is working with Kaitiaki Research and Evaluation to conduct this focused research. It is intended to increase the understanding of those working with survivors and to provide evidence for the rainbow community to advocate for ongoing resources for education, guidance and to support a survivor network.

Conversion practices are any effort that seeks to change or suppress someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. These practices have been prohibited in Aotearoa New Zealand since February 2022.

“We know conversion practices are extremely harmful to mental health and overall wellbeing, that’s why they were banned. Now we want to better understand how that harm is caused and what survivors find helpful in their recovery,” says the Commission’s Conversion Practices Response Service Manager, Matt Langworthy.

“We have an important opportunity to fill a gap in the evidence base, and we feel a responsibility to do so.”

One survivor told the Commission, “we’ve been asking for more opportunities to talk about our experiences. Like any trauma, it improves well-being and dispels myths when we get to tell our own stories. We want people to know that conversion practices are still happening in Aotearoa today.”

Researchers will conduct confidential interviews with a diverse range of up to 25 survivors about their experience of conversion practices, how it affected their lives, what harm was caused, and what turned them away from the practice. They will also ask what kind of support did and did not help their recovery.

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Kaitiaki Research and Evaluation are specialists in sensitive topic research with extensive experience in survivor-focused work. They use trauma-informed approaches and have previously done research with the rainbow community as well as research on family and sexual violence and abuse of disabled people.

“We have four interviewers working with the project, representing the Māori, Pākeha, trans, non-binary, cis-gender, takatāpui, queer, lesbian, and gay communities. Survivors can choose who they want to speak to. We’re also encouraging everyone to bring a support person, and we’re offering free counselling support,” says Langworthy.

People interested in participating in the research can contact the project lead for Kaitiaki Research Dr Michael Roguski (Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) at or 0275 111 993.

As part of Commission’s ongoing work, any person who believes they have experienced a conversion practice can contact the agency for support and advice. They will be helped to understand what a conversion practice is, what support is available to them, and can also be provided with a free dispute resolution process. The Commission can also connect survivors to Police, with their consent, if the situation meets the threshold of a criminal offence.

People who think they may have experienced a conversion practice can contact the Commission on or 0800 496 877 and leave a message. They can also complete an online complaint at

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