A transgender rights organisation is being investigated over reports it has given breast binders to children.
Mermaids, which supports transgender, non-binary and gender diverse children and their families, reportedly sent the chest-flattening devices to children against their parents’ wishes.
The Charity Commission has opened a regulatory compliance case into the organisation after a number of complaints.
It is the first step taken by the regulator, and not a finding of wrongdoing.
A spokesperson for the commission said: “Concerns have been raised with us about Mermaids’ approach to safeguarding young people.
“We have opened a regulatory compliance case and have written to the trustees. We now await their reply.”
According to an investigation by the Daily Telegraph, the charity has been offering binders to children as young as 13 despite their parents saying they opposed the practice.
Chest binding is opposed by some groups over fears it causes breathing difficulties, back pain and broken ribs.
The newspaper also reported that the Mermaids online help centre has been offering advice to teenagers that hormone-blocking drugs are safe and “totally reversible”.