Equal opportunities

Equal Opportunities Policy Statement

SafeLives believes that equal opportunities are important in order to:-

  1. Encourage the development of individuals’ abilities, talents and potential to the full
  2. Attract potential employees from the widest possible pool of talent
  3. Ensure that the services we offer are accessible to the widest range of potential participants
  4. Meet our moral and legal obligations
  5. Provide a working environment free from unlawful discrimination, harassment or victimisation

SafeLives is committed to adopting policies and procedures aimed at maximising the abilities, skills and experience of its employees, trustees, workers, associates, contractors and volunteers (hereafter referred to as “Staff”) and ensuring that they are free from harassment. We are also committed to making our services accessible to those who might wish to access them.

Accordingly, the organisation has adopted the following Equal Opportunities Policy Statement:

  • SafeLives will seek to ensure that all members of Staff, job applicants and all participants in the services that we offer are treated equally regardless of age, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, disability, sex, marital or civil partnership status, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, and religion or belief (“protected characteristics”).
  • We will monitor and review our services to ensure that all people, regardless of their background or circumstance, enjoy a fair and equal opportunity to access them and take appropriate action where this is not the case.

SafeLives is aware of its responsibilities as an employer and will act to comply with the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010. This policy covers all aspects of employment including recruitment, terms and conditions of work, sickness and absence, training and development, promotion, performance, grievance, discipline and treatment of workers when their contract ends. Compliance with this policy should also ensure that employees do not commit unlawful acts of discrimination.

Staff must not unlawfully discriminate against or harass other people including current and former Staff, workers, job applicants, clients, customers, suppliers, visitors and members of the public. This applies in the workplace, outside the workplace (when dealing with customers, suppliers or other work-related contacts), and on work-related trips or events including social events.

Striving to ensure that the work environment is free of harassment and bullying and that everyone is treated with dignity and respect is an important aspect of ensuring equal opportunities in employment. The organisation has a separate Dignity at Work policy concerning issues of bullying and harassment on any grounds, and how complaints of this type will be dealt with.

What is discrimination?

Discrimination can take many forms – direct, indirect, associative, perceptive, harassment and victimisation as well as the failure to make a reasonable adjustment. These are further defined in the appendix to this policy.

SafeLives will seek to ensure that all its policies and procedures, Staff and any parties providing services on SafeLives’ behalf promote anti-discriminatory behaviour. Staff will be expected to challenge discriminatory language, behaviour or writing wherever it is experienced. SafeLives will act immediately whenever it becomes aware of discriminatory practice either in relation to its Staff or in relation to the services that it delivers.


SafeLives will actively promote equality of opportunity through the following means:

  1. Recruitment and promotion, or change of post, is determined by personal merit and an individual’s ability to fulfil the criteria of the post within the remit of SafeLives;
  2. Try to ensure that the widest cross section of applicants become aware of job vacancies and include Equal Opportunities statements in all job advertisements;
  3. Promote equal opportunities throughout the organisation using employment policies and procedures that ensure individuals receive fair and equitable treatment;
  4. Create a positive working environment in which all employees are respected, are provided with training, development and progression opportunities;
  5. Be open to flexible work patterns and job sharing;

All Staff, whether they be full-time or part-time, permanent or temporary, have a role to play in creating a climate which supports equality of opportunity. All Staff have a duty to ensure that their personal conduct conforms to our policies and codes of conduct. They will be made aware of the provisions of this document and offered advice and training, as appropriate, on issues relating to equal opportunities.

Any alleged breach of this policy by Staff will be investigated and the individual concerned may be subject to the organisation’s Disciplinary Procedure where applicable. SafeLives’ Grievance Procedures provide routes for employees and workers by which breaches of the Equal Opportunities Policy can be addressed. Associates, contractors, agency workers or volunteers should raise breaches of the policy in writing to the appropriate manager or HR department.

Providing services on behalf of SafeLives

SafeLives expects that its consultants, associates, external trainers and others with whom it works closely will carry out their duties in accordance with the principles of Equal Opportunities and the guidance detailed in this policy.

Service Delivery

SafeLives will seek to make all our services accessible to the widest range of possible users and seek to remove any barriers to accessing them from any group or individual. Staff or associates should report any bullying or harassment by customers, suppliers, visitors or others to their manager or the HR department who will take appropriate action.


The SafeLives Board has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that SafeLives operates in a nondiscriminatory way. It will ensure that this policy is routinely reviewed and updated as appropriate. The Chief Operating Officer and Human Resources have the lead role in ensuring that this equal opportunities policy is implemented. However, it is the responsibility of every SafeLives Board member and member of Staff to reflect this policy in their personal conduct. It is the responsibility of all trustees and Staff to uphold the integrity of SafeLives’ implementation of this policy. Employees are required to do this through the signing of their contract of employment. SafeLives will also ensure other policies and processes reflect and support the expectations laid out in this policy and statement.

Your responsibilities

Every member of Staff is required to assist the organisation to meet its commitment to provide equal opportunities in employment and in the delivery of its services and to avoid unlawful discrimination.

Staff can be held personally liable as well as, or instead of, the organisation for any act of unlawful discrimination. Staff who commit serious acts of harassment may be guilty of a criminal offence.

Acts of discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation against a member of staff, external individual or group by employee member of staff of the organisation are disciplinary offences and may be dealt with under the organisation’s Disciplinary Procedure and/or could lead to the withdrawal of offers of work by the organisation. Discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation may constitute gross misconduct and could lead to dismissal without notice or the immediate termination of a contract for services.


The organisation will provide training in equal opportunities to managers and others likely to be involved in recruitment or other decision making where equal opportunities issues are likely to arise.


SafeLives recognises that the effectiveness of its policies depend upon the Board and Staff putting the policy into practice. All Staff are required to read, understand and agree to the policy during their induction at SafeLives. All associates or others providing services on behalf of or to SafeLives are likewise expected to make themselves aware of and follow the principles and guidance detailed in this policy.


Equality of opportunity will be monitored through the collection and analysis of statistical data regarding recruitment and training of Staff as well as data regarding those using SafeLives’ services including records of the age, sex, disability and ethnic origin of all those using its services in order to fulfil its obligations to equal opportunities.

These figures will be passed on to the board and reviewed on a 6 monthly basis and recommendations made as appropriate.


Policy issued: March 2024
Policy to be reviewed: March 2025


The law

It is unlawful to discriminate in recruitment or employment or in the provision of services or goods because of age, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, disability, sex, marital or civil partnership status, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, and religion or belief. These are known as “protected characteristics”.

Discrimination after employment may also be unlawful, e.g. refusing to give a reference for a reason related to one of the protected characteristics.

Staff or those providing services on SafeLives’ behalf should not discriminate against or harass a member of the public, individual or group in the provision of services or goods. It is unlawful to fail to make reasonable adjustments to overcome barriers to using services caused by disability. The duty to make reasonable adjustments includes the removal, adaptation or alteration of physical features, if the physical features make it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people to make use of services, the provision of auxiliary aids where it is reasonable to provide them, and the adjustment to any policy or practice which places a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage. In addition, service providers have an obligation to think ahead and address any barriers that may impede disabled people from accessing a service.

Types of unlawful discrimination

Direct discrimination:

Direct discrimination is where a person is treated less favourably than another because of a protected characteristic, and can include discrimination by association with someone who has a protected characteristic. An example of direct discrimination would be refusing to employ a woman because she is pregnant.

Indirect discrimination:

Indirect discrimination is where a provision, criterion or practice is applied to everyone but which is discriminatory in relation to individuals who have a relevant protected characteristic such that it would be to the detriment of people who share that protected characteristic compared with people who do not, and it cannot be shown to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. This can also include indirect discrimination by association with someone who has a protected characteristic.


Harassment is where there is unwanted conduct, related to one of the protected characteristics that has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity; or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.


Victimisation occurs where there is retaliation against someone who has complained or has supported someone else’s complaint about discrimination or harassment. For example, if a blind employee raises a grievance that the employer is not complying with its duty to make reasonable adjustments, and is then systematically excluded from all meetings; such behaviour could amount to victimisation.

Failure to make reasonable adjustments:

Failure to make reasonable adjustments is where a physical feature of premises, or a provision, criterion or practice, or a failure to provide an auxiliary aid, puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage compared with someone who is not disabled and the employer has failed to make reasonable adjustments to enable the disabled person to overcome the disadvantage.

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