Trans charity Mermaids is under investigation after claims they sent breast-reducing ‘binders’ to girls behind their parents’ backs
- Mermaids charity helps children and teens transition gender
- Claims that charities have sent breast flattening devices to girls behind their parents’ backs
- The Charity Commission has now opened a ‘regulatory compliance case’
- The Metropolitan Police Described Breast Flattening As Child Abuse
transgender Mermaids charity was investigated last night by the charity watchdog over concerns about its ‘approach to protecting young people’.
The Charity Commission opened a ‘regulatory case’ over claims that Mermaids sent breast-flattening devices to girls behind their parents’ backs.
The charity helps children and teenagers transition to another sex. The Daily Telegraph reported that it has sent girls as young as 13 the devices that can cause breathing difficulties, chronic back pain, spinal changes and broken ribs. An investigation by the newspaper found that Mermaids staff agreed to discreetly send a ‘chest folder’ to a girl they believe was only 14 after being repeatedly told her mother would not allow her to have one. to use.
The Charity Commission said earlier this week it was reviewing the allegations and has now confirmed it has opened a case. A spokesperson said: ‘Concerns have been raised with us about mermaids’ approach to protecting young people.
Transgender charity Mermaids was investigated last night by the charity watchdog over concerns about its ‘approach to protecting young people’. Pictured: Mermaids CEO Susie Green
‘We have opened a case for regulatory compliance and have written to the trustees. We are now waiting for their answer.’
The Metropolitan Police described breast flattening – also known as breast ironing – as child abuse.
Its website states, “Young girls’ breasts are damaged over time, causing them to flatten and slow their development.” It added: ‘Sometimes an elastic strap or binder is used to prevent them from growing’.
Responding to reports this week, police said: ‘The supply of a breast tie in itself is not a criminal offence. However, if an individual case is reported of someone using a breast binder or undergoing breast strokes, it will be investigated together with social services as possible child abuse.
“The same approach would be taken regardless of culture or community.”
The Charity Commission opened a ‘regulatory case’ over claims that Mermaids sent breast-flattening devices to girls behind their parents’ backs
A Mermaids spokesperson said: ‘We have received a letter from the Charity Commission and will respond in due course. We will not comment further at this stage.” Maya Forstater, co-founder of the campaign group Sex Matters, said: “We have heard from parents, teachers and therapists who are concerned about Mermaids’ actions and we would like to encourage them to write and testify directly to the Charity Commission. of their reservations.’
Mermaids, which is led by CEO Susie Green, has reportedly recently received more than £20,000 in taxpayers’ money in grants and more than £500,000 from the National Lottery. In 2019, the Crown Prosecution Service updated its guidelines on breast ironing, saying it should be “prosecuted as a form of child abuse.”
Jaswant Narwal, of the CPS, said at the time: ‘Our message is simple: breast stroking is child abuse.
“The practice seriously harms young girls and can leave them with physical and mental scars for the rest of their lives. While this abuse often occurs in a family setting, the CPS is clear that a crime is committed when actual harm is done to a girl – regardless of consent. It is not possible to consent to aggravated assault.’
The practice is seen as a form of female mutilation and is common in, for example, Cameroon, where families want to prevent unwanted sexual attention for girls.
The commission’s investigation comes as Mermaids seeks to remove the charitable status of the LGB Alliance, which campaigns for gay, lesbian and bisexual rights.
Mermaids says it excludes transgender people and ‘trying to undermine the work for transgender rights’.