Press release: BBC Panorama programme

On 27th February 2023, the BBC’s Panorama programme aired an episode called Crisis Pregnancy Centres Uncovered. The programme investigated crisis pregnancy centres around the UK.

A complaint made about the Pregnancy Crisis Helpline was discussed at the beginning of the programme. The following is the full response given to Panorama when we were invited to comment on the complaint.

“We support women in a safe, pressure free environment. We do not judge. We do not coerce. At Pregnancy Crisis Helpline we empower women to make their own choices.

Our service is free to women and provided by trained volunteers.

At the Pregnancy Crisis Helpline we work extremely hard to offer women the highest possible standard of support. After nearly six years of speaking with many thousands of women, we have received only two complaints. (Last year we received over 2,000 calls and messages and had only 1 complaint – a complaint rate of 0.05%). We have taken these two complaints very seriously.

The complaint you mention was highly unusual and has been thoroughly investigated following our complaints process. We listened to the concerns of the complaint carefully and sympathetically. This case was discussed at a board meeting and a number of measures were put in place to improve our processes.

The women calling the Pregnancy Crisis Helpline are seeking a safe, non-judgemental place to discuss their situation. Many women are experiencing a complex array of social, financial and mental health issues and are relieved to find a safe space to discuss their options without judgement. Some women contacting us say they feel very distressed about the prospect of having an abortion. A typical message we receive is “I’m being pressured to have an abortion that I don’t think I want – I have no one to talk to about it” (message anonymised). A significant number of women also call us in distress after a regretted abortion.

Our primary aim at the Pregnancy Crisis Helpline is to empower women to explore their thoughts and feelings so that they can make their own fully informed decisions. And we’ve had many grateful messages thanking us for our support. One of our callers recently commented that: “finally someone is listening to me!

It is vital that women maintain the right to empowerment through services that support them in making fully informed, judgement-free choices.”

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