THE Scottish Government has insisted there is no “serious risk” of parents being criminalised under a proposed LGBT conversion practices ban.

Last week, Equalities Minister Emma Roddick launched a consultation on legislation seeking to outlaw practices that attempt to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Following the initial proposals being published, it has been suggested that parents could face jail time for refusing to allow their child to change gender or by simply talking to them about it.

READ MORE: PODCAST - Inside Scotland's 'groundbreaking' bid to ban LGBT+ conversion therapy

However, Scottish government officials refuted this claim at a briefing with journalists on Wednesday, after suggestions that a parent could be criminalised for refusing to allow their child to take puberty blockers, a form of hormone therapy for transgender children.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government insisted that the proposals seek to tackle abuse which causes physical or psychological harm to the victim through so-called "conversion therapy".

“The proposals don't prevent guidance, advice, questioning or making decisions about a child's welfare that are not harmful or coercive,” the spokeswoman said.

“We are not intending to get into that space where parents are guiding, advising, supporting children in these processes.

The National: Emma Roddick represents the Highlands and Islands at Holyrood

“Again, there's also this defence about reasonableness in the circumstances that would be arguable in these situations where parents might be concerned, taking normal parental decisions around the child.”

She added: “Our intention is not to have to deal with these normal, regular parental child dynamics, but to get into conduct that is abusive and harmful.”

Asked if, for example, a parent refusing to allow their child to take puberty blockers, and it caused the child psychological harm, would be deemed an offence, the spokesperson said: “It has to reach those thresholds of being harmful, abusive, threatening, humiliating, coercive, and there's a stringent set of tests that have to be met to fall within the proposals.”

READ MORE: Conversion therapy ban Scotland: What will it look like and who opposes it?

The spokesperson was further probed on parents being prosecuted under the legislation and if they accepted there was a risk of this.

“I recognise the concern that's being expressed,” she said.

“We're reflecting and our current analysis is that the provisions don't bring in a serious risk of that, but I'm listening to the concerns that are being expressed by people that are bringing those concerns.”

The proposed law would create new criminal offences of engaging in conversion practice, which can include both providing such a service and engaging in a course of coercive behaviour, as well as taking a person out of Scotland to engage in conversion practices.

A statutory aggravation, which can be placed on another charge such as assault, will also be created, as well as the provision of civil protection orders.

While a defence of reasonableness will be allowed, the proposals seek to exclude consent as a defence.

We previously told how LGBT+ campaigners have said they are confident the legislation will survive lobbying from religious groups and opposition.

The Catholic Church is amongst those who have said they believe the legislation will have a “chilling” effect.