Trans and gender diverse charity suspends helpline after 'intolerable abuse'

A charity supporting trans and gender diverse people has temporarily closed its helpline and webchat services after becoming the target of "intolerable abuse".

Writing on social media on Thursday afternoon, Mermaids wrote: "Due to intolerable abuse, we have made the decision to close the helpline and webchat services for the rest of today and tomorrow.

"Next week, to enable us to take all volunteers off the rota, we will reduce hours to 9am to 6pm only.

"We do not make this decision lightly, but our duty of care towards staff and volunteers necessitates a harm reduction approach to protect our dedicated staff and volunteer team.

"We hope to be able to resume normal working hours as soon as possible."

It comes after one of the charity's trustees resigned following reports he spoke at a conference organised by B4U-ACT.

The US-based group calls for paedophiles to have the right to live "in truth and dignity", describing itself as a "non-profit organisation promoting communication between minor-attracted people and mental health professionals".

The Times revealed earlier this week that Dr Jacob Breslow attended the conference in 2011 as a PhD student.

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According to The Times, Dr Breslow's presentation looked at "the DSM's struggle to understand 'the paedophile' through an investigation of the highly questionable and deeply assumptive clinical, empirical and theoretical studies it cites".

The DSM is the Diagnostic And Statistic Manual Of Mental Disorders, a publication by the American Psychiatric Association for the classification of mental disorders.

Dr Breslow's presentation reportedly used the phrase "minor-attracted persons", which is used by some people instead of the word "paedophile".