Equity, equality, diversity and inclusion

Midyear stocktake on SafeLives EEDI Plan 2021/22

February 2022

Our EEDI Objectives for 2021/22

We measure our progress towards creating the kind of organisational culture we want using quantitative and qualitative indicators. Our key markers are set out below and we will work by the end of 2021/22 to set further goals around these themes:   

  • Our team: Who are our staff, Pioneers, associates and Trustees, and how do they feel about working at SafeLives?  
  • Our communications and audiences: What reach and impact are we achieving? Who feels we are speaking in a way that resonates for them? What intended/unintended message are we giving in our choice of content, language and imagery, formats and channels? How are we testing perceptions of us and our work? 
  • Our collaborations, partners and projects: Who we are engaging with in a meaningful way?  
  • Our service delivery: What improved impact are we having, together with our partners? What’s the experience people have of the domestic abuse response they receive which we have partnered in or commissioned? 

In our full-year stocktake in summer 2022 we will once again ask for external perspectives on progress we have or haven’t made.

Objective 1: Our team

  • We have published data from our second annual diversity declaration for staff, Trustees, Pioneers and associates, completed in December 2021 
  • This monitoring data reflects what we see from our broader HR information – that the organisation is changing, including in our most senior governance, our Trustee Board. However, we have high levels of stability in senior management posts – the senior leadership and operational management teams - so this data shows little change since we reported in February 2021.
  • In terms of how colleagues are supported after they’ve joined the organisation, our staff survey held in November/December 2021 shows that we received an average score of 4 out of 5. This is consistent with 2020. With regards to the question ‘I often feel the burden of having to educate people at SafeLives about diversity and inclusion’ there was a further slight fall in the overall number of people agreeing with the statement, which is positive, but a slight rise in the number of people who strongly agreed with it, which indicates that a small number of people feel they are carrying weight for the organisation in this respect, something we have to change.
  • We want staff, Pioneers associates and Trustees to have multiple opportunities for learning, development and growth in the organisation in relation to EEDI. In the first half of 2021/22, we completed core EEDI, Race Resilience and Anti-Racism courses
  • We have added to our formal HR policies, working with Diverse Matters on a formal EEDI policy which sits alongside existing policies for whistleblowing and complaints, but we know that a policy needs implementation and we are working with staff and pioneers who have experience of discrimination to ensure that this is done in a way that is supportive and respectful. 
  • American coach Kwame Christian says about anti-racism, as a specific aspect of EEDI, ‘the best things lie on the other side of difficult conversations.’ In the first half of 2021/22 we started to develop our ability to safely and respectfully hold these conversations. We have worked with the Restorative Engagement Forum to start building staff ability to have sensitive conversations in a way that can repair or de-escalate harm. We are rolling out Restorative Practice Level 1 training for all staff.
  • The SafeLives Culture Group remains an important forum for exploring how we ‘call in’ issues of concern, making it safe to make mistakes and learn together while recognising and addressing the impact on people when mistakes are made. The Culture Group has rotating membership and the team are currently calling for new members, with a focus on increasing the representative nature of the group.

Objective 2: Our communications and audiences

  • We committed, when we published the 2021/22 action plan, to improve our use of data analytics to understand who is accessing our communications materials (on our social media channels, traditional media, and website). We purchased a licence for Hootsuite in September 2021, to enable us to better monitor and evaluate our social media activity. The next six months will see us developing an understanding of who accesses what, and where.  
  • In terms of how we use our platforms, we are committed to improving the breadth of voice, imagery and issues we highlight. Examples include a campaign about older people for Adult Safeguarding Week, seen by 17,000+ people, highlighting that those aged 61+ experience domestic abuse for twice as long before seeking support; and nearly half are disabled. During Black History Month we worked with Sistah Space to promote their vital Valerie’s Law campaign, and promoted Annie Gibbs’ feature on the Dope Black Women podcast. We posted a series about our commitment to the VAWG sector anti-racism charter and highlighted campaigns by Latin American Women's Rights service and Southall Black Sisters regarding the treatment of and provision for migrant victims of domestic abuse, as well as promoting the campaigns of Karma Nirvana, and the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation (Ikwro) regarding child marriage, ‘virginity testing’ and hymenoplasty. In several cases these are also campaigns we are supporting offline, too, through our public affairs team.
  • We want to understand people’s qualitative responses to our materials. In the coming six months we will develop a social media strategy that will include updated metrics and evaluation, and develop a campaign schedule to actively platform, amplify and work in collaboration with small, specialist organisations who support minoritised victims of domestic abuse. 
  • In re-developing our website, we have been working to improve usability and achieve the AA Accessibility Standard. The prototype will be tested by both accessibility experts and SafeLives Pioneers (experts on abuse through personal experience). The new website will be more accessible to users with a range of needs, including people with visual impairment, and will offer a translation feature. We are also working on making our content more readable, and sourcing images that reflect the diversity of the population. 
  • At the start of 2021/22 we said we would always consider the diversity of any panels/events that we are hosting, make our events accessible, and feed back to other event hosts about these same commitments so they could do the same. We have made mixed progress on this in the first half of 2021/22 and need to be honest with ourselves that this isn’t yet embedded enough in event planning. In the next six months we will be introducing a new approach to events management, proactively identifying participation opportunities and involving small, specialist organisations as standard. Their involvement will work from key principles such as compensation for their time, and meaningful joint planning, well ahead of time.

Objective 3: Our collaborations, partners and projects

  • In the first half of 2021/22 SafeLives has been in formal partnership with multiple organisations, many of whom work from a specialist perspective. This includes Aafda, Chayn, Forward, Galop, Improvement Service Scotland, Hafan Cymru, HOPE Network, Imkaan, Lancashire BME Network, Llamau, The Mix, Muslim Youth Helpline, On Our Radar, PODS, Rights of Women, Super Being Labs, Surviving Economic Abuse, University of Central Lancashire, University College London, Vision Foundation, Women’s Aid England, YANA. We are proud to be working with the Vision Foundation to explore the specific experiences of domestic abuse victims and survivors who are blind or partially sighted. You can hear more about that in our interview with RNIB radio, at this link.
  • Formal collaborations to improve the content of our training materials are in place with the introduction of our Anti-Racist Practice Module into the Idva Specialist Course. The module was created by and is delivered by Black, Asian, or racially minoritised guest speakers. We are gathering the feedback from this initial phase of introducing the module from the guest speakers, lead trainers, and learners which will inform a review prior to introducing the module to all 12 Day Foundation Trainings (Idva, Ypva, and Outreach). have been made since summer 2021.
  • During 2021 the DA Matters national trainer pool was expanded prior to the Met police delivery. A training event was held in London to attract individuals that better reflected the diverse communities of the capital. In order to retain those individuals going forwards a buddy/mentor scheme and inclusion network were created to help support the new trainers and provide a flow of feedback between the group and the organisation. Feedback from the new trainers has been excellent, and their skills are slowly being incorporated into the wider organisation. In addition, two trainers have gone on to do paid work for the Met Police, helping their officers understand cultural differences. This group meets monthly and will run until February at which point it will be evaluated in terms of effectiveness, and is something that must be continually revisited and sustained to demonstrate continued commitment going forwards.
  • We are now members of the Employers Domestic Abuse Covenant, created and led by The Sharan Project, with a particular support offer for women of British-South Asian heritage. Director of Sharan, Polly Harrar, addressed the SafeLives Trustee Board in December 2021, telling them directly what allyship from SafeLives would look like.
  • We have been proud to collaborate with many other colleagues who work from a specialist perspective including Al Hasaniya, La Grace de Francois 
  • We regularly ask colleagues with whom we’re partnering what their experience is of us as an organisation. When we complete our year-end stocktake of progress against the EEDI plan, we will ask for more formal comment, which we commit to reflecting in our public report in a transparent way. SafeLives has more to do to be a good ally to smaller, more specialist organisations, and in recognition of that we asked Meena Kumari and Brandy Hubbard to complete consultation, brought together in a report, about what action colleague organisations would like us to take. This work was completed in December 2021. Themes included the need for greater access to the services SafeLives provides which people rate highly – such as research capability, practice advice and training. There was also a call to make the needs of minoritised groups more central to our public communications, which relates back to Objective 2, above. A working group who will take forward the recommendations in Meena and Brandy’s report has been formed. 

​         Read the Specialist Services Report here.

Objective 4: Our service delivery

  • As above, access to SafeLives training is valued highly by individuals and organisations working from a specialist perspective. In the Autumn 2021 and Spring 2022 we received approximately 350 applications for our open enrolment Foundation courses of which 80 could be classed as small (less than £1mil) or specialist, roughly 22%. The majority of these will be small services rather than specialist services focusing on delivering services to minoritised communities. 98% of learners told us they felt more confident in their role after receiving our Idva training and our Idva Foundation training has an average NPS score of +64.3 since 2021 (on a scale of -100 to +100). Our learners report an increase in knowledge (out of a score of 5) from 3.15 at the beginning of the course to 4.69 at the end of the course. Our learners rate the content of the course a 4.71 out of 5 and the delivery of the course a 4.62 out of 5. We have included notes under Objective 1 on the diversity data for our associate team, the vast majority of whom are associate trainers. 
  • In the six months to December 2021, data from the Drive partnership identified systemic gaps in provision for high harm perpetrators of domestic abuse, in particular in relation to racialised and LGBT+ communities. The Drive team has focused with partners on building evidence for culturally responsive intervention, including a literature review work with a consortium led by HOPE Training and Consultancy to consider workforce and leadership development issues. The consortium team have recently completed their analysis and will be presenting recommendations regarding what's needed to increase representation and development opportunities for practitioners and leaders from racialised communities within parts of the VAWG sector which respond to perpetrators of abuse. 
  • The Drive team is undertaking audits of cases with perpetrators from LGBT+ communities to review learning. They are exploring the potential to facilitate roundtables with LGBT+ organisations, researchers and perpetrator-response organisations to share learning, discuss gaps and potential solutions, and consider what role the Drive partnership should play to support specialist organisations.
  • SafeLives’ ‘Beacon Site’ pilot programme formally finished in summer 2021, but Insights data we have been able to continue collecting from the two pilot sites in West Sussex and Norfolk shows the demographics of people using the service. We are about to start analysis to understand if there are differences in outcomes for different groups in the sites which might relate to one or more aspects of their identity.
  • We launched the Your Best Friend campaign #FriendsCanTell. This was co-created with a group of young people from a range of backgrounds - because we know that this is the best way to reach all young people in partnership with many of the projects listed above.
  • We committed to completing an Equality Impact Assessment for each of our projects, however this work has not yet started and still needs to happen.

We said from the outset about our EEDI work that anti-racism would need to be a priority. That continues to be the case, though as outlined above, we are also working on multiple other aspects to make this work as comprehensive as it needs to be. This document provides a really helpful explanation of how organisations try to make the necessary shift to anti-racist practice, and the pitfalls along the way. 

At SafeLives, it feels like we’ve reached the stage of high desire for clarity, and for a thorough culture shift, but without all the confidence, yet, that we’ve built up our personal skills, knowledge and ‘relational’ trust to make the full leap to where we want to be. It's human nature to try and simplify complex things, but meaningful change will only come from us being willing to experience uncertainty and complexity, as set out in recent evaluation on cross-cultural training. This demands a lot of people, and particularly people who’ve experienced racism. 

Our values statement expresses the ways in which we want to do our work. At this stage of our EEDI development, we want to develop goals which measure process as well as output, how we’re making change. What does a supportive, ‘call in’ culture feel like, as people continue to identify mistakes. We have to resist our own defensiveness to mistakes being pointed out, acknowledge that people’s wellbeing is impacted through those mistakes, and continue to believe that we can develop and improve.


July 2021 Stocktake: SafeLives EEDI Commitments 

On July 1st 2020, we published a statement of intent, and plan, on equity, equality, diversity and inclusion. Those materials can be found hereWe committed in 2020 that we would be transparent and consistent in reporting against our statement and plan, and have published updates in December 2020 and February 2021 (when we released our diversity monitoring data, found here). In April 2021 we published a response to the Government’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities here  

We have now reached the end of the first year’s plan on EEDI and this page forms the final stocktake of 2020/21. We are publishing it alongside a renewed plan for 2021/22. 

Our plans speak to the full breadth of EEDI issues. Within this, our priority focus remains on improving our anti-racist practice. In putting together this stocktake, we invited members of our team and colleagues from the wider VAWG sector to comment on progress – or lack of it. For colleagues outside the organisation, we invited reflections about us as an organisation, which might or might not have involved them being familiar with our specific EEDI commitments. Each spoke candidly, as women of colour, about their perspective and experience of our organisation. We are extremely appreciative of colleagues taking the time and personal energy to engage with us in this conversation, and we hope the work we do in the year to come will honour and respect what they had to say.   

Everyone has to evolve, adapt, change.

Sahdaish Pall, Service Lead - Sikh Women’s Aid

Overall, we have started to make important practical changes. These should continue. We now want to make relational changes, too, responding to the encouragement from Kwame Christian that ‘The best things lie on the other side of hard conversations.’ 

  • We have made changes to staff, associate, Pioneer and Trustee recruitment. For staff recruitment, this has led to an improvement in the breadth of people who apply to and are appointed by SafeLives, with 27% of applicants and 21% of appointees in the last year identifying as being from a Black, Asian, or racially minoritised group. We published our first diversity monitoring data for staff, associates, Pioneers and Trustees in February, and will renew this data in December, for publication again in February 2022.  
  • One external colleague noted that though she has used our resources and known us before, she felt pre-2020 that SafeLives wasn’t showing diversity in our organisation. Contact with us through recent events has “opened my eyes”. Before that, she felt like only white people worked at SafeLives but she now feels that at webinars and events she has seen people of all different backgrounds representing the organisation. She feels that “once people know SafeLives properly, they’ll feel the diversity”. But from the outside, someone might still feel that way. Indeed, Sahdaish Pall, who has used SafeLives resources a lot in her career, said “SafeLives doesn’t come across as a diverse organisation. Not necessarily in terms of race but more generally. If there is work going on about this, people don’t necessarily know about it. I have often come to you for expertise but not specialisms.”  
  • We know from internal conversations that staff inside the organisation don’t always feel like they are part of a diverse organisation. This feeling might have been exaggerated by remote-only working, particularly for new staff, but there is clearly still more for us to do to make sure all team members are recognised and valued, and that we keep improving the extent to which our organisation fully reflects the UK. “Being open to change is the most important thing…. Organisations need to employ people with diversity of mind, regardless of how they look. If the people who are there operate with the right mindset, that will come through in the organisation’s culture and its delivery of services” (Sabreena Grant, court-based Idva) 
  • We have a lot more work to do once staff, Pioneers, Trustees and associates who come from under-represented groups join the team. Within this there are fundamental issues about how we have the hardest conversations, and safely for those involved. “Whatever an organisation does, it has to be meaningful… for example how are your colleagues in the organisation treated if they experience racism? Do they feel safe, is there a culture that supports open conversations?” (Sabreena Grant). We cannot confidently answer these questions, at the moment. We are right in the middle of this – working at both anti-racist and restorative approaches to build confidence and trust for every team member. But a single year’s attention to this has not solved it and we need to do much more work to earn the confidence and trust of all members of SafeLives. 
  • We have developed formal and informal partnerships with brilliant organisations who hold specialisms we don’t – and we’re increasingly paying attention to how we partner, not just who with – are we experienced as working with an equity approach? Formal scoping work, due to be completed this summer, will provide further recommendations about our allyship for smaller, more specialist organisations. In the meantime, Sahdaish Pall told us ‘SafeLives has always been an organisation we look up to’ and that she’d always found staff supportive when she has got in touch directly. However, she noted she has always thought of us as ‘over there’, with some partnership working but not high levels of engagement with smaller organisations.  
  • Brene Brown talks about being an ‘upstander not a bystander’, and that ‘upstanding’ comes from having worked through and practiced difficult conversations. In discussing this stocktake and our commitments, one external colleague reflected “Some organisations are frightened to do this as they’re worried about offending people, but that leaves just a small number of people (usually people of colour) speaking up” (Jackie Kibanza, CEO of La Grace de Francoise). We have put effort, time and investment this year into development, reflection and training that will increase our confidence, motivation and ‘safe, strong spaces’ and have worked with Voscur, Diverse Matters and Race Resilience to do that, also developing a learning library of resources for colleagues to read into issues with which they’re less familiar. Our 2021/22 plan renews the commitment to keep going with this and ensure it is making a difference in who feels it is their role to identify and address discrimination. 
  • We have tried to strike a balance between reaffirming publicly our intent, ideas and support, and not ‘performing’ this. We made public our response to the Government’s report on race and ethnic disparities, and also made a short public statement about issues raised about the VAWG sector beyond SafeLives. La Grace de Francoise CEO Jackie Kibanza commented that lots of organisations didn’t say anything, and she wanted to see them do so. She noted “You need to know as someone in the minoritised group that they have your back.” Our latter statement, though it was short, told her how we feel, and that, You’re with me.” The tone and content of our internal and external communications on issues of race and racism will continue to need close attention - we know we haven’t always got this right. 
  • SafeLives holds, analyses and promotes a lot of data and evidence, and we know that the language we use in our reporting (and our wider communications) matters. This year we got rid of the terms BAME and BME in our reporting (and suggested the same to others who we can influence). We have also taken steps to be more transparent about the gaps in our data and therefore how representative our insights and findings can be considered to be.  
  • We also considered the practice guidance we publish, and worked closely with Southall Black Sisters and Standing Together on Marac guidance where there needs to be a clear separation between safeguarding activity and immigration enforcement. The Drive partnership, for which we’re one of three partners with Respect and Social Finance, initiated projects led by specialist colleagues to address the needs of minoritised communities. Sahdaish Pall noted that she thinks of SafeLives as quite operationally focused, working from an expert perspective on issues of safety and how to safely deliver innovation in practice. She has used a lot of SafeLives resources, from the website, sometimes amending these to meet the needs of her individual service users. We talked about the role for SafeLives in seeking feedback to make these changes ourselves, so that smaller organisations don’t have to spend their time doing that. 
  • We have started reviewing and improving our training content. EEDI-related changes we proposed to DA Matters scripts licensed by the College of Policing were discussed and accepted. We have started to make some initial changes to Idva materials with Forward UK, as well as creating an anti-racist module as part of the training, and look forward to doing bespoke work on the Idva manual with Sistah Space in 2021/22, as well as supporting them with their campaign for Valerie's Law. Sabreena Grant shared that she found the training coordinators and other learners for her Idva course “really, really encouraging. Really empowering as a first experience in the sector.” She noted that despite the course having to move online because of Covid, itstill felt like a safe space, and some adjustments which she needed in advance, to take part, had been well handled by the training coordinator and the two associate trainers for the course. The need for more thorough consideration of access issues has been mainstreamed into event planning, as well as training. However, Sahdaish Pall noted that having worked in the sector at a senior level for a long time, in a small specialist service, she has consistently found the cost of Idva training difficult. The housing association one of her services was embedded in wasn’t a charity (though it was a not for profit) so wasn’t eligible for existing SafeLives bursaries on offer. ‘I have put a few staff through, but it’s quite costly’. She went on to suggest that SafeLives should more heavily promote our resources to smaller and more specialist organisations who don’t know they exist and are working, “with good intentions but a lack of knowledge which could unintentionally put someone at risk.” She also asked us to consider whether CICs and some not-for-profit organisations could be considered for bursary criteria in future. We are already offering new additional larger subsidies for small specialist organisations with income of less than £500k.   
  • In terms of other SafeLives support to individual practitioners and smaller organisations, Sabreena Grant suggested, “Ideas about career progression. Supporting buddying or mentoring from outside someone’s own organisation.” She is still using her WhatsApp group from the Idva course, and felt the SafeLives Community (an online platform for frontline practitioners) could be developed more. She noted that although she wouldn’t necessarily have been aware of our specific EEDI commitments without a proactive conversation, she was glad to see SafeLives’ inclusivity in other ways – for example, celebrating other organisations and individual practitioners through Star of the Month on social media. 
  • We have been really glad this year to act in an advocacy capacity for the mighty HOPE Network, acting as the conduit for Meena to secure funding when not being incorporated as a charity could have stood in her way. The value of Meena’s work – which is all her own - is evident in the feedback from one external colleague: “Meena has been such a blessing... that’s someone I would look up to in terms of building a career after starting as an Idva”.


Read our Equity, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EEDI) Plan for 2021-22 here.