The Tavistock: children and young people

The Cass Independent Review has identified huge shortcomings in the provision of healthcare for children and young people with gender dysphoria at the Tavistock GIDS Centre. The Centre will close in Spring 2023 and be replaced with new regional services managed as part of a holistic and evidence-based approach.

The failures of Tavistock GIDS have been challenged by a number of brave whistleblowers who have persisted in raising concerns despite sustained opposition and often at great personal cost.

The Cass Independent Review recommendations are a vindication of their concerns.

The letter to the NHS from Dr Hilary Cass about the Tavistock Gender Identity Development Services (GIDS) published this week contains recommendations for the NHS on the treatment of children and young people experiencing gender dysphoria.

These recommendations indicate that the services provided by the Tavistock GIDS  are not currently fit for purpose and that the Cass Interim Review’s investigations have been thorough and comprehensive.

As a result of these recommendations, the Tavistock GIDS Centre will close in the Spring of 2023 and be replaced with regional centres where it is hoped that young people will receive a more careful, holistic clinical approach to ensure their complex needs are properly met.

These regional clinics will require stringent safeguarding processes and checks to ensure that the best interests and needs of the young people govern any treatment they receive and that no ideology trumps evidence or research. Thorough research and critical inquiry must guide the development of all such services in the future.

Available data shows that there has been a huge increase in young people identifying with gender dysphoria particularly teenage girls and those with autism. There are also indications that this unease with one’s sexed body is often due to a multiplicity of complex causes including trauma, neglect, abuse and a range of mental health issues. All and any of these potential causes must be addressed in the treatment of young people with gender dysphoria before any irreversible steps are taken.

There are thousands of young people who are currently being treated by the Tavistock GIDS service who must be properly supported through the next period while services are redeveloped and improved. This will require serious levels of funding to ensure that any recommendations of the Cass Independent Review are properly implemented.

In addition, there needs to be vastly increased and sustained funding of Children and Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in general so that the mental health needs of all young people can be met. This is particularly urgent in the aftermath of Covid-19.

A Woman’s Place is whistleblowing

Those raising concerns on this issue have shown courage and determination over many years. In particular, thanks are owed to Stephanie Davies-Arai and all at Transgender Trend, Michele Moore, Heather Brunskell-EvansKeira Bell, Mrs A, Sue Evans, Marcus Evans, Sonia Appleby, Michael Biggs, David Bell, parents, previous patients and all those professionals who spoke out and those who were intimidated or forced out for doing so. Several journalists have also played an important part in raising concerns especially Janice Turner, Hadley Freeman, Hannah Barnes and Deborah Cohen.

One of our key campaign objectives is to ensure that women’s voices are heard in all areas of public life. We are proud to have hosted a number of the above women at our public meetings whose voices of dissent and challenge have been critical in bringing concerns around child safeguarding into the public domain. You can also read several blogs and interviews on this topic on our website including:

Most recently, our Lewes meeting, A Woman’s Place is whistleblowing hosted four women who have spoken out so bravely for the wellbeing and welfare of young people in the face of sustained and vitriolic opposition.

Thank you Stephanie Davies-Arai, Sonia Appleby, Sue Evans and Rachel Rooney for making #WPUKLewes such a profoundly moving event.

Little did we know that less than a week later, the collective efforts of so many people over so many years would have borne such fruit.

We will be publishing the films from that meeting shortly on our YouTube channel.

Moral Courage

In the interim, we salute all the whistleblowers for their tenacity in shining a light on the treatment of children and young people with gender dysphoria at the Tavistock. We are hopeful that their efforts will now ensure future generations receive evidence-based treatments that meet the needs of the child; and that the managers of these new services demonstrate the leadership necessary to provide them.

As Sonia Appleby said at in Lewes:

The plain and simple truth, recently demonstrated in political quarters, is that we – the public – need leaders cut from different timber. We need relatable, clever, knowledgeable individuals. We also need moral leaders. Leaders who recognise a moral issue…that they can take and make a moral judgment. That they can resolve to place moral concerns ahead of other concerns. All people who are capable leaders use their moral courage whether they know it or not.

WPUK

Related links

 

 

Media coverage

BBC Newsnight Coverage of Gender Transition, GIDS and Detransition, Hannah Barnes, Deborah Cohen from the Bayswater Support Group website

What went wrong at the Tavistock clinic for trans teenagers, Janice Turner

The week the spell was broken, Hadley Freeman

Further Reading

My Body is Me, Rachel Rooney

Gender Dysphoria: A Therapeutic Model for Working with Children, Adolescents and Young Adults Sue Evans and Marcus Evans

Fact & Fiction webinar: the Professionals, Sue Evans and Marcus Evans, Transgender Trend

Fact & Fiction webinar: children, teens and young adults, Rachel Rooney, Milli Hill and Phoebe Rose, Transgender Trend

NHS child gender identity clinic whistleblower wins tribunal, Sonia Appleby

Keira Bell v Tavistock: women’s rights, healthcare and the law, Judith Green

We believe that it is important to share a range of viewpoints on women’s rights and advancement from different perspectives. WPUK does not necessarily agree or endorse all the views that we share.