Equality, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion plan 2020-21


Our Statement of Commitment – Our work as an organisation on equity, equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is about ensuring we have a culture (which includes staff, Trustees, Pioneers, associates and any volunteers) which invites all parts of UK society to feel part of what we do, encouraged that our work speaks to their background and experience.  

We want a team at SafeLives which is diverse. We won’t deliver our mission to end domestic abuse, if everyone thinks and behaves in the same way or shares homogenous experiences and background.   

We want to go beyond compliance with the Equality Act 2010, recognising and addressing the structural inequalities which limit equality of opportunity for many. Our EDI work around protected characteristics is an important part of this, and we also feel strongly about applying the same ethics and standards to different life experiences and ways of thinking.  

We will value the voices of those with lived experience of identifying with one or more protected characteristics in the same way that we value those with lived experience of domestic abuse, and we will work to amplify those voices. We will take a whole person approach and acknowledge that these experiences cannot be addressed separately - each one interacts with each other. This means recognising that a particular characteristic will never be all of someone’s identity and experience and will be connected to multiple other parts of their identity and their life.  

We will be an inclusive employer and service provider, aiming to provide equality and fairness for everyone we employ, everyone working to end domestic abuse, and everyone affected by domestic abuse.  

We recognise that equality is not simply about treating everyone the same and that equity is key, making appropriate adjustment to ensure equal opportunities for all.  

We know that EDI won’t be something that gets dealt with by a policy or by this plan alone. It is a way of thinking and behaving that must be embedded in everything we do and the way we think about ourselves and our work. As we develop our actions across all of EDI, we will prioritise addressing racial inequality. We know there is a great deal to do. 

Our plan will be a living piece of work, with all members of the SafeLives family and external colleagues encouraged to keep suggesting new ideas and guiding the nature and pace of implementation. Everyone has an important contribution to make. 

We have committed to share publicly these key headlines from our plan so far, to increase our accountability and transparency. We will also work collaboratively across SafeLives to produce a manifesto for change which will guide our future actions.  


According to the CIPD guide to building inclusive workplaces: 

Diversity refers to demographic differences of a group – often at team or organisational level. Often, diversity references protected characteristics in UK law: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.  

Equality means equal rights and opportunities are afforded to all. The 2010 Equality Act in the UK protects those with protected characteristics from direct and indirect discrimination in the workplace. 

Equity recognises that treating everyone equally has shortcomings when the playing field is not level. An equity approach emphasises that people should not always be treated the same, rather that they are treated according to their own situation. This is consistent with SafeLives’ work in supporting victims and survivors according to their own situation. 

Inclusion is often defined as the extent to which everyone at work, regardless of their background, identity or circumstance, feels valued, accepted and supported to succeed at work.  

Our Values 

  • We are human: We will value everyone as individuals with their own unique experiences. We understand that structural inequalities and some people’s experiences mean that it is harder for them to be listened to and we will work to include them and amplify their voice. We note our ambition that there should be ‘no them and us’ in equality, diversity and inclusion.  
  • We are rigorous: We are committed to embedding this plan in every aspect of our work, and we will expect all members of the SafeLives family to do this. We will use data and evidence to help drive change. 
  • We are brave: We will try new approaches and ask ourselves hard questions as we implement this plan, recognising this will involve difficult conversations, challenging and being challenged in a pro-social way.  

These values underpin SafeLives’ strategy, our culture and this plan. Our strategy describes our intended social impact. This plan describes how we work with and nurture the SafeLives family internally, but also the effect we hope that will have externally on people seeing and experiencing our outputs, too. 

This work is crucial if we are to achieve our organisational goals. Our purpose is to end domestic abuse, for everyone and for good.  Our work is led by the experience and insight of survivors. To bring about change, our organisation also needs other kinds of experience – managerial, financial, administrative – and insight – policy, capacity building, wellbeing – and skills – research, communication – and experience reflective of wider society. Only by combining everyone’s experience, insight and skills can we achieve our goals and live our values – be proud of what we do and how we do it. 

About this plan 

As part of shaping the culture of SafeLives, this EDI plan sets out four key areas of focus. Within each, we will put particular emphasis on tackling racism. This plan also commits us to a range of actions to be completed in no more than 12 months. The prioritisation given to tackling racism comes both from external events and also our own recognition that we don’t currently reflect all of the communities we aim to serve, and that this directly impacts both on how the organisation operates, and how our own team experience the organisation.  

The four key themes, described below, are significant contributors to our overall culture and impact. The actions are first steps that start to make change. Some of these initiatives will work. Some won’t. We will review the actions regularly to see if they seem to be making the changes we want, indicated by both quantitative and qualitative measures, some of which we start to set out below and others which we now need to develop.

Our equity, equality, diversity and inclusion work will be a process of continuous development and improvement, and so the plan which gives it structure will be a living document. Formal points of review will be complementary to an ongoing process through which action is tested, fed back on, iterated and improved, and added to.  

We will review progress on a regular basis at all our key internal meetings, reporting quarterly as an internal staff team, reviewing with our Board every six months, and more broadly across SafeLives every twelve months to see if our culture is evolving as planned. We will keep inviting external perspectives and independent feedback. If we aren’t having the impact we’d hoped, then we will be honest about it, rethink, and do further planning together.  

Focused Themes for 2020-21

We will measure our progress towards creating the kind of organisational culture we want using quantitative and qualitative indicators. Our key themes for that are set out below. Before the end of 2020 we will have completed baselining work, which allows us to set very specific goals for the next phase of actions and delivery.  

  1. Our team: Who are our staff, Pioneers, associates and Trustees, and how do they feel?  
  2. 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? 
  3. Our collaborations, partners and projects: Who we are engaging with in a meaningful way?  
  4. 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? 

Monitoring and Reporting 

The Senior Leadership Team have overall responsibility for the delivery and review of this plan. The Senior Leadership and Operational Management teams will review it every month. The COO will lead an internal staff discussion about progress every quarter, and report to the Board of Trustees with the same frequency, with Trustees scrutinising in more detailed every six months. As above, we will also encourage an open conversation about these issues at all other times, creating safe, reflective environments for that to happen and ensuring our associate team and SafeLives Pioneers are also involved.  

We have engaged for consultancy support a specialist organisation based in Bristol, called Voscur. They support voluntary sector organisations with EDI issues, offer mentoring and have links with other organisations. With their help, and the additional (paid) support of other specialist individuals and groups, who can act as critical friends and help us understand and address hard truths, we will work through the HR team and Operational Management Team, as well as reviewing the use of a staff group, to help keep shaping and implementing the action plan. While this will be a key set of mechanisms in SafeLives, we expect that all individuals and teams will play their part, including making and acting on useful additions to what this plan contains so far. 

Theme 1 – Our team: We gathered data against multiple of the measures described under Theme 1 (for employed staff) in our all-staff survey in late 2019, which we will use to provide benchmarks to be used in our monitoring and review processes at all levels. However, in a small organisation where cohorts of people can also be very small, we will be careful in onward sharing, balancing the need for transparency and a full and intersectional profile of staff, Trustees, Pioneers, and associates, along with careful use of quantitative or qualitative data which could identify one or a small number of people’s identity, experiences or views. We will also develop appropriate annual measures and collection plans. for Trustees, Pioneers, and associates. Our intention for Theme 1 is to increase the extent to which we are representative of all the communities we serve, and to ensure the equitable and inclusive treatment of all our team members.  

Theme 2 Our communications and audiences: For Theme 2, we will continue the process of embedding more systematic and thorough data analytics to our communications work, being really mindful of content, voice, imagery and language, and looking not just at reach achieved but also levels of engagement and whether that engagement is widening. We will also review qualitative reactions to our communications and campaigns.  

Theme 3 - Our collaborations, partners and projects: For this Theme, we will have measures where we can show whether we have meaningfully collaborated or partnered with individuals and organisations who hold expertise that we don’t. We may not currently hold the right level of detail on onward partners we contract with, or the learners who access our training, which are a key face on the world for us, for example, so we will need to create mechanisms for this. Our intention is to keep increasing the extent to which we are recognising the expertise others hold which we don’t, and the need to use our influence to help reduce and remove any barriers they face to play a rightful, equal part in the identification and response to domestic abuse.  

Theme 4 - Our service delivery: We will assess the impact of project or service delivery which we commission through local delivery partners, ensuring that equality, diversity and inclusion data is made available in project reporting and publications, with commentary on how we are acting on those specific findings to improve year over year the picture of who receives a service, how quickly, and how appropriate that service is in meeting their needs.  

Across all four themes, we will routinely gather feedback from individuals and organisations about their experience with us. 

We will measure: 

Theme 1: our team 

  • Protected characteristics 
  • Lived experience of domestic abuse* 
  • Mental health 
  • Geography** 
  • Education  
  • How staff feel: individual assessment of care/support for them 
  • How staff feel: individual assessment of EDI across the organisation 
  • And we will develop similar surveys for Trustees, Pioneers, and associates 

*As noted in our statement of commitment, we recognise that domestic abuse isn’t an experience that sits isolated from other parts of someone’s identity and life experiences. The term ‘lived experience’ is therefore likely to refer to more than one experience in someone’s life – whether they choose to disclose that in their work, or not. 

**As a UK-wide organisation, our ambition is to attract and retain members of our staff, associate, Pioneer and Trustee teams from many different parts of the UK. This is the purpose of collecting information for this data point. 

We will monitor, evaluate and report on these measures at least annually throughout people’s time with SafeLives and we will review EDI through all of the following mechanisms, bringing that feedback back into the planning cycle: 

  • Recruitment/applications 
  • Interviews 
  • Appointments 
  • Support and supervision meetings (staff member and line manager conversations) 
  • Professional development (progression, salary) 
  • Annual staff survey 
  • Exit interviews 
  • Internal group meetings 

Theme 2: our communications and audiences 

  • Level of reach achieved across all our public platforms 
  • Nature of reach achieved in terms of engagement rates, audiences 
  • Qualitative feedback on our communications and campaigns 

Theme 3: our collaborations, partners and projects  

  • List of individuals and organisations with whom we have done meaningful work, including new partners  
  • List of organisations who we have engaged as onward service providers 
  • Demonstrable evidence of rigorous consulting and co-creation in the development of our work 
  • Qualitative feedback on people’s experience of working with us 

Theme 4: our service delivery 

  • Impact achieved in terms of diversity markers, within project and service delivery* 

*Project delivery includes, for eg, our major projects such as Beacon sites and Drive. Service delivery includes, for example, all of our training and our Leading Lights programme. 

Headline actions

Theme 1

Auditing Board/staff/Pioneers/associates - As part of the annual staff survey, we will collate data as described in Theme 1, above, and measure against a baseline (for staff) from 2019. We will refresh the Trustee data we currently hold to ensure this also has a strong, public baseline, and work through how similar activity can and should apply to Pioneers, and SafeLives associate trainers. We will do further checks with specialist organisations about the terminology we use for these surveys, the way the surveys are conducted, and how the results are used. Only data which might identify specific individuals will be kept confidential. 

Recruitment - Using our extended networks and professional methods to recruit to a wider pool of staff, Trustees, Pioneers, and associates, than we currently have, targeting our recruitment to increase representation from particular groups.  

Training and ongoing operational and line management for staff, Trustees, Pioneers and associates on policy, practice, engagement. EDI training (for staff) in 2020/21 will include a role for a range of (paid) experts who hold knowledge and experience that we don’t have internally. This will start at induction but be a career-long part of people’s time with SafeLives, with enhanced training for those in a management role, in our HR team, and other posts with specific responsibilities. We will review by the end of the first quarter how learning and training opportunities can and should be extended to Trustees, Pioneers and associates.

Retention, progression – We will continue to promote flexibility in working arrangements wherever possible, including learning from Covid/lockdown adaptations. Staff will be supported to learn about the process for wellbeing plans, and as needed these will be put in place and monitored. Shadowing opportunities will initially be provided to staff by Voscur, mentioned above, but team members will also be encouraged to identify individuals and organisations with whom they would like to engage to support their personal development. We will create safe and reflective spaces for people to discuss EDI issues, whether for learning or to air concerns.

Raising concerns - We will use new and existing forums and processes from line management to the staff survey to identify specific concerns and ensure they are robustly addressed, with as much transparency as possible. This will create a feedback loop for further development of this plan. It will be supported by a robust and safe procedure to recognise, safely and appropriately challenge, record and act on concerns – and involve independent scrutiny where this would add value and build confidence.

Exit interviews – We will ensure that our exit interview process for staff, Trustees, Pioneers or associates who are leaving the organisation includes appropriate questions on their experience of EDI issues at SafeLives, and again that there is a feedback loop to act on any issues raised.

Theme 2

Communications review – internal/external – We will instigate a methodical review process for all our public comms to ensure we continue to increase the diversity of our voice and our content. This covers website, social media channels, and publications including impact and research reports.

Celebrating and challenging in solidarity - We will continue to engage closely on issues of policy and practice which adversely or disproportionately involve some groups within UK society, challenging constructively and offering both evidence and practical guidance in instances where we hold expertise and/or influence. We will celebrate achievements and key dates in the calendar which speak to the diversity of UK society, and support and amplify the voice of the specialist professionals and organisations.

Influencing and giving our platform to others – We will keep listening to the voices of those with lived experience – of domestic abuse and of living as someone with protected characteristics – and we will use our communications power to act on and amplify the voice of those who are often silenced or not listened to.

Theme 3

Training content – We will carry on with and speed up the review of our training materials to ensure that they reflect UK society – ensuring we engage with relevant (paid) specialists as we do so. 

Training provision – We will review existing data on the profile of current and previous learners and act on the findings. In particular, we will take steps to ensure bursaries are promoted as prominently and appropriately as possible, being intentional about the way these are targeted to individuals and organisations who are underrepresented in our training rooms. Representation in our associate team is covered in Theme 1.

EDI impact assessments: at activity’s start – An EDI assessment will be developed and implemented for key SafeLives activities including the development of new projects, training courses, and supplier relationships. The use of this process will be standardised and subject to additional independent advice when this is needed.

Stocktaking partners network, and feedback – We will conduct a stakeholder survey to understand people’s current perceptions and experiences of us. We will also pull together a rolling list of all the partners with whom we are doing meaningful work (not limited to formal projects), continue to develop new relationships with by and for specialist organisations of all kinds, and review bi-annually to check for critical gaps with reference to diversity considerations. We will formalise the process for inviting each partner we work with to feed back on their experience of working with us, looking for ways we can improve.

Theme 4

EDI impact assessments: monitoring delivery – We will coordinate impact data for key SafeLives activities, as part of overall data collection and impact measurement across the organisation. This will include, for example, the range of data referred to in Themes 1, 2 and 3, plus data from our major projects (currently Drive and the Beacon sites). We will make active use of this data, providing commentary on it in our public reporting and asking any independent evaluators to do the same, and creating a plan for the action we expect to take as a result of findings.

Our EDI plan is a live document, and so not all of the detail within it has been included here. We will continue to add to in the weeks and months to come. Please be in touch with us at SafeLives if you would like to discuss any of it in more detail.


July 1, 2020