Our Children, Young People and Families Lead Jo Holmes contributed to a BBC Panorama investigation into crisis pregnancy advice centres to highlight the importance of ethical counselling.

The programme looked into the centres that operate outside the NHS and claim to offer support and counselling for unplanned pregnancies.

The BBC Panorama investigation revealed more than a third of these services gave misleading medical information or unethical advice, and sometimes both.

Jo was filmed alongside Dr Jonathan Lord, a consultant gynaecologist at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust who co-chairs the British Society of Abortion Care Providers (BSACP), and spoke about the need for people to access ethical support.

Safe space

Jo said: “Therapy should provide a safe, confidential, and non-judgemental space in which to talk to a trained professional about your issues, feelings, and concerns.

“It should never be manipulative, insulting, or disrespectful. A professional and ethical therapist won’t persuade you with their personal opinions,  advise or try to solve your problems.”

Jo added: “Anyone can call themselves a therapist, so it's important to find one who is a member of a professional body that has a Professional Standards Authority-accredited register – such as BACP’s.

“Women should only seek independent pregnancy and abortion advisory services that are listed on the Gov.uk website.

“All of these clinics include access to professionally delivered, non-judgemental pre and post-abortion counselling services.”

Ethical counselling

We felt this was an important programme – titled Crisis Pregnancy Centres Uncovered – for us to be involved in to highlight to the public how to find ethical counselling and the standards our members have to maintain.

A number of BBC outlets have reported on the documentary including BBC Online and BBC Breakfast, while Jo was interviewed live on BBC News and BBC Radio London.

The BBC Panorama investigation was broadcast on Monday on BBC One and you can watch it now on the iPlayer.

Picture credit: BBC Panorama