Equality, diversity and inclusion networks

Victim Support has internal EDI 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 network and share experiences and information
  • ensure that the voices and experiences of those from minority and marginalised communities are an integral part of our equality, diversity and inclusion strategy
  • embed equality across Victim Support.

The aim of each of the networks is to explore the issues affecting the communities and identities that they represent and to increase knowledge and awareness within the organisation. Having an understanding of the issues affecting specific communities can help our staff and volunteers to deliver a better service for victims.

The networks support the equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) Lead and the organisation by:

  • acting as consultative groups for EDI policies, procedures and strategies
  • providing support to staff and volunteers around specific identities and communities
  • raising awareness of issues affecting their community
  • organising awareness events for volunteer and staff teams
  • acting as visible role models and EDI champions.

There are currently six networks:

  • Disability network
  • Faith & Belief network
  • Gender Empowerment network
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans + (LGBT+) network
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing network
  • R.A.C.E (Race, Ancestry, Culture and Ethnicity) Inclusive network.

All the networks have a Chair or Lead 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.

All networks also have ‘allies’ who support network activities. These are members of staff or volunteers who would like to know more about the identities and experiences of those within each of the networks but are not from the specific group the network represents. Allies can support any network by supporting network activities and development and can sign up to receive the same communications as ‘members’.

Carolyn Woolley, Assistant Director, People says, “The five EDI networks are extremely important; they help share best practice and each carry out valuable additional work to support their communities. 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.”

The aim of the R.A.C.E Network is to address the wider issues of racism and prejudice prevalent throughout society that affect BAME staff and volunteers at Victim Support.

We hope that by promoting our cultural differences and building awareness of the opportunities and events available for our members and network of allies, we will be able to create a more inclusive and diverse workplace.

It is hoped that as a network we will contribute to the intersectional discussions that are necessary to create equality and diversity within institutions, and in turn leave no room for ignorance, prejudice or racism in society.

Members have carried out various activities including:

  • profiling a diverse range of BAME role models from within Victim Support and from wider society
  • R.A.C.E Inclusive network book club
  • awareness raising webinars.
The Disability Network was created to give colleagues, volunteers and supporter members a space to discuss experiences of disability, raise awareness of the experiences of disabled people and a channel to declare problems they may have at work because of a disability.

Members have carried out various activities including:

  • developed disability awareness materials
  • shared personal experiences of being disabled in the workplace
  • raising the profile of the process for staff/volunteers requesting reasonable adjustments.
The Gender Empowerment network is open to all staff and volunteers that would like a space to discuss the impact of gender in the workplace, in our services and in wider society. The network is open to all gender identities and aims to be an inclusive space for all.

The network aims to:

  • provide a safe space to discuss gender
  • explore and address the barriers faced by staff and service users as a result of their gender
  • feed in to Victim Support’s wider equality, diversity and inclusion strategy, ensuring that all staff and volunteers are included, represented and respected.
The Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans + (LGBT+) network is a forum for Victim Support’s employees, volunteers, trustees and friends/allies whether or not you yourself identify as LGBT, and whether or not you are ‘out’. We strongly believe that anyone should have the freedom to be their authentic self at Victim Support.

The network is inclusive of all identities, sexualities, genders and friends/allies whom are not generally included explicitly in the term LGBT.  We also recognise that individuals may have multiple intersecting identities and individuals who identify as non binary.

As a network we are aiming to:

  • create a safe, inclusive and diverse working environment that encourages a culture of respect and equality in order that everyone at Victim Support can reach their full potential
  • support LGBT+ employees, volunteers, trustees and allies – whether or not you are ‘out’ in the workplace and in the wider community
  • celebrate diversity within the LGBT+ community
  • provide a forum for information, peer support and networking
  • help address LGBT+ issues within Victim Support’s policies and strategies, review them accordingly and improve services for the LGBT+ community
  • work with internal and external networks and groups to embrace difference.
The network is open to all staff and volunteers that would like a space to discuss mental health and wellbeing. Whether you’re someone who is struggling or has struggled with their own mental health, are supporting someone else to manage their mental health, or are just passionate about wellbeing, this is a space for you.

The network aims to:

  • provide a safe space to discuss mental health & well-being
  • share tips and tools about how to manage our own and support other people’s mental health and wellbeing
  • feed in to Victim Support’s wider equality, diversity and inclusion strategy, ensuring that all staff are supported.

The Faith & Belief Network offers confidential support on anything relating to faith and belief for all employees and volunteers within Victim Support.

The network group works to create a safe, inclusive and diverse working environment that encourages a culture of respect and equality for everyone, in order that every individual can reach their full potential without fear of discrimination on the grounds of faith or belief.

Whatever your belief system VS recognises that faith is integral to many colleagues’ everyday lives, informing who they are, the vocation they feel called to and the way they relate to others.

The faith & belief network seeks to gather colleagues of faith to celebrate and acknowledge this. The network is an inclusive and welcoming network that is open to all, including people who are curious about exploring faith.