Equality, diversity and inclusion networks
Victim Support has internal networks that are open to all staff and volunteers across England and Wales. These networks are there to:
- provide a platform for specific equality groups to share information
- provide engagement with others
- embed equality within the organisation.
The aim is to explore issues affecting these groups and to increase knowledge and awareness within the organisation. Having an understanding of the issues affecting equality groups can help our staff and volunteers to deliver a better service for victims.
The networks support the equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) senior manager and the organisation by:
- acting as consultative groups for EDI policies, procedures and strategies
- acting as ‘subject matter experts’ for the development of EDI learning
- raising awareness of issues affecting their community
- organising awareness events for volunteer and staff teams
- acting as visible role models and EDI champions
- developing Victim Support publications for service users and colleagues.
There are currently three networks:
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT+) network.
- Disability and Mental Health network (DMH) network.
- Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) network.
All the networks have a chair and co-chair who manage the activities of the networks. On Victim Support’s intranet, the networks have dedicated pages with a range of information to engage, inform and share, such as blogs, discussion boards, awareness and learning and videos. They also:
- provide an opportunity to review and discuss Victim Support’s terms, conditions and policies as they relate to different equality groups/protected characteristics
- give colleagues the opportunity to access information to support their work
- provide a social and support network to members via the discussion board, blog and direct contact with network officers
- present a platform for people from the specific communities to talk to others from the same communities who have an understanding of issues that affect them.
All networks also have ‘allies’ who support network activities. These are members of staff or volunteers who would like to know more about BAME/LGBT/DMH issues but are not from the specific group the network addresses. Allies can support any network by supporting network activities and development and can sign up to receive the same communications as ‘members’.
Both members and allies also contribute and influence the development of policy and practice from their perspectives for the benefit of the organisation.
Lucy Hastings, our Director of Engagement and Enterprise, who is also the EDI lead on the senior management team, says: “The three EDI networks are extremely important; they help share best practice and each carry out valuable additional work to support their equality/protected group. Members are consulted on the drafting of the EDI strategy and relevant policies, and are encouraged to produce action plans that support the EDI strategy and help to embed the objectives to benefit their members and Victim Support as a whole. They help to raise the profile of the issues affecting their members, which in turn will help to ensure Victim Support’s services are accessible to all sections of our communities.”
Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) network
The BAME network is the newest of our networks. Members have carried out various activities since its inception including:
- profiling progression of black and minority staff to demonstrate that Victim Support is an organisation which encourages BAME staff to develop and progress
- providing an awareness of high-profile and significant positive BAME people such as Nelson Mandela and Maya Angelou
- raising the profile of Operation Black Vote.