Regulator opens case into transgender charity Mermaids

A compliance case into Mermaids has been launched by the Charity Commission amid concerns around safeguarding at the transgender charity.

The case has been launched after concerns were raised around chest binders being made available to young people without their parents’ consent.

The probe follows an article in the Telegraph around the supply of the binders through the charity.

“Concerns have been raised with us about Mermaids’ approach to safeguarding young people,” the Charity Commission has confirmed.

“We have opened a regulatory compliance case and have written to the trustees. We now await their reply”.

The Commission stressed that the opening of a compliance case is not in itself a finding of wrongdoing.

“We have received the letter from the Charity Commission and will be responding directly in due course,” said Mermaids.

In a separate response, to the Telegraph article, Mermaids said: “Some trans masculine, non-binary and gender diverse people experience bodily dysphoria, as a result of their chest, and binding, for some, helps alleviate that distress.

“Mermaids takes a harm reduction position with the understanding that providing a young person with a binder and comprehensive safety guidelines from an experienced member of staff is preferable to the likely alternative of unsafe practices and/or continued or increasing dysphoria.

“The risk is considered by Mermaids staff within the context of our safeguarding framework.”

This response also offered reassurances over safeguarding regarding its online forums, which “have robust security and moderation processes in place” to ensure they are “a safe space for trans, non-binary and gender diverse young people and their families”.

Mermaids has detailed how last month “an individual - possibly a journalist - tried to gain access to the Youth forums by pretending to be a 14-year-old in need of support, seemingly with the aim of discrediting Mermaids”.

The charity said that its moderation process identified this person who “has since been blocked”.

“Security of our platforms and safeguarding of young people is of the utmost importance to us and we will continue to regularly review our processes and procedures to make sure our forums remain safe and secure,” the charity added.

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