Resources Blogs Zero-Tolerance Discrimination & Abuse Statement from POhWER’s Chief Executive Since 1996, POhWER staff and volunteers have supported millions of people to uphold their human rights, safeguard them from harm and abuse and to treat them as equal people. As POhWER’s Chief Executive I have a duty to role model front-line courageous leadership, allyship and ensure that all of our colleagues act with integrity to uphold human rights and equality in our own Charity’s work. Dignity and respect are core and fundamental to the work we do as a Charity. Everyone who works for or comes into contact with POhWER should have an experience free from abuse, harm, discrimination, and oppression. We recognise many people coming to us for support are often marginalised and frustrated with cases requiring support. We work very hard to treat people we support with professionalism, dignity, and respect. Those of us working here are human beings who have the right to be treated with that same respect. We will not accept any form of verbal or physical abuse from anyone including our fellow colleagues, professionals, beneficiaries, or members of the general public. Our POhWER policy covering Equal Opportunities sets out legal and ethical duties arising from equality laws. Our Dignity at Work policy exists to ensure colleagues working at POhWER understand expectations of what inclusive behaviours look like within the Charity. POhWER’s Safeguarding Adult and Children policies outline our expectations of how we keep people free from harm and abuse coming into contact with our Charity. Our Whistleblowing policy provides a colleague mechanism for speaking up when matters arise that are about unlawful conduct, financial malpractice or dangers to personal health or safety or the environment. We set high standards for our conduct and actively promote a working environment free from stigma, oppression, discrimination. We as a Charity will not tolerate racism, ableism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, ageism and sexism in any shape, form or setting in our work. We recognise that there will be circumstances where a lived experience preference is appropriate, such as specialist support for people who have experienced hate crime, been a victim of domestic or sexual violence, specific spoken language skills, culturally appropriate advocacy and/or NHS complaints which entail intimate medical disclosures. However, we will not accept any discriminatory “preference style” requests from beneficiaries or professionals to work with an advocate who is from a different race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, gender identity, mental health or disability position. This “preference style” request refers to where someone makes a request for an advocate or help hub worker which is derogatory, abusive or discriminatory in its nature. Our front-line advocates and help hub colleagues are fully qualified professionals and their own personal diversity characteristics play no role in the quality of experience of our services. We treat all abuse and discriminatory allegations arising seriously and will always investigate cases raised to our attention. For our workforce internally there are additional channels including our Whistleblowing, Grievance and Disciplinary policies. Externally, for beneficiaries, partners and members of the general public we operate a complaints process. To file a complaint you can email [email protected] or call our National Help Hub on 0300 456 2370. Should anyone coming into contact with our staff, volunteers or beneficiaries create or experience an atmosphere which makes anyone feel uncomfortable and less equal we will actively take prompt action to always protect our workforce and beneficiaries. This prompt action may include an awareness raising conversation on behaviours, written letter, contact to local police, safeguarding alert being raised, escalation to statutory body or regulator, removal of service or ban from contacting the Charity. Thank you for helping us to uphold an inclusive and safe workplace and service environment for our colleagues, beneficiaries, partners, and the general public at POhWER. It starts with you.