Equally Ours is committed to working with our policy and research network members, Government, policy makers, funders and the voluntary sector to ensure the response to and recovery from Covid-19 is compassionate and meets the needs and rights of us all. We provide essential intelligence about the issues and problems that people and communities are facing due to the virus, and help to find practical solutions.

What are Equally Ours doing in response to Covid-19?

We at Equally Ours are focusing on:

  1. Putting forward to government and policymakers issues and recommendations that the people and communities we work with and for need them to act on in their response to the virus, and bringing our members and wider networks together to contribute to the response where a joint approach makes a difference.
  2. Continuing our planned policy influencing and capacity-building work where possible, using digital instead of face-to-face delivery models.
  3. Helping our network, the voluntary sector and policymakers stay up to date with developments. We will be adding to this page regularly so that policymakers can access Covid-19 related equality and human rights information all in one place. And if you haven’t already, sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Twitter @equallyours.

Here are our key initiatives:

Our initial policy response to the Covid-19 emergency called on the government to take action in two key areas, and offered our support to make it happen. The first of these is to design equality and human rights in to plans to help people withstand the impact of the virus. The second is to make sure that new emergency powers brought in to manage the virus are in line with human rights standards.

Funding: we worked with members, civil society infrastructure organisations and funders to create principles and guidelines for funders on how Covid-19 funding should be disbursed

Evidence to the Women and Equalities Select (WESC) Committee inquiry: we submitted extensive evidence and recommendations to the WESC Covid-19 inquiry. It will be published in due course in line with committee rules.

Evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) inquiry: we are currently preparing a submission to the JCHR inquiry.

The following sections give information, recommendations and links to resources about all the main equality and human rights issues in relation to Covid-19.

Are you an Equally Ours policy or research network member, associate or observer with guidance or policy recommendations published in response to the coronavirus? Send them to us here and help keep this hub up-to-date.

Covid-19 and access to justice

Equally Ours and our members are calling for:

  • steps to ensure that as many people as possible continue to get legal assistance,
  • adequate safety measures across the legal and court systems,
  • a temporary extension of the time allowed for people exposed to harassment or discrimination at work to make Employment Tribunal claims against their employers from three to six months,
  • all migrants in the UK to be given leave to remain, in order to prevent abuse against them and support public health efforts,
  • protection of the rule of law – measures put in place to keep the justice system functioning and the public safe must respect the rule of law.
Learn more by clicking on the links below.

Covid-19, children and young people

Equally Ours and our members are calling for:

  • emergency support for families with children, with a £10 increase in child benefit and the removal of the benefit cap and the two-child limit,
  • better funding to emergency refuge services so that mothers and their children can flee unsafe homes and perpetrators of abuse,
  • better and more inclusive provision of mental health support to vulnerable children during these uncertain times
  • authorities not to use the ‘easements’ introduced due to Covid-19 that cut support for children and young people in the care system, and that cut disabled children’s rights to education,
  • increased support for children at risk of homelessness or living in unsuitable and overcrowded temporary accommodation,
  • no overnight detentions of children by police, which disproportionately impacts BAME children,
  • provision of broadband and devices so no child is educationally disadvantaged during the crisis.

Learn more by clicking on the links below.

Covid-19 and disability

Equally Ours and our members are calling for:

  • supermarkets to improve access to food and essentials for disabled people, including people with sight loss, excluded by priority schemes,
  • no blanket policies that discriminate against disabled people or blanket use of Do Not Resuscitate Orders,
  • adequate provision of PPE in care homes and for carers and personal assistants,
  • authorities not to use the ‘easements’ introduced due to Covid-19 that cut disabled people’s rights to care and disabled children’s rights to education,
  • timely reporting of the deaths of disabled and autistic people and people with learning disabilities due to Covid-19,
  • provision of the government’s emergency and public health information in British Sign Language.

Learn more by clicking on the links below.

Covid-19 and human rights

Equally Ours and our members are calling for:

  • human rights to be at the centre of all prevention, preparedness, containment, treatment and recovery efforts,
  • Government to provide support to protect people’s rights to life, security and liberty, and to an adequate standard of living,
  • measures to prioritise support for people whose rights are least protected and who experience discrimination,
  • restrictions of rights (including to care, education, and privacy) introduced by emergency coronavirus legislation to be temporary, proportionate and only used when necessary.

Learn more by clicking on the links below.

Covid-19 and immigration

Equally Ours and our members are calling for:

  • the Home Office to take the necessary measures to ensure the safety of refugees and asylum seekers,
  • guidelines on public safety to be as easy to understand as possible and translated where necessary to ensure inclusivity,
  • no distinction between migrants with leave and migrants without leave,
  • no one who currently has leave to lose it, for any reason whatsoever, during this crisis.

Learn more by clicking on the links below.

Covid-19 and LGBT+ rights

Equally Ours and our members are calling for:

  • measures to address the increased risks of homelessness, insecure employment, restricted access to healthcare and other inequalities experienced by LGBT+ people,
  • support for youth charities to help young LGBT+ people through digital platforms,
  • schools, social services and police to support young LGBT+ people forced to stay in unsafe homes with unsupportive family members during the lockdown period.

Learn more by clicking on the links below.

Covid-19 and older people

Equally Ours and our members are calling for:

  • no blanket policies on age in relation to access to health services and treatment,
  • ‘easements’ in the Care Act that cut access to care not to be used,
  • increased PPE and support for older people and staff in care homes,
  • improved access to food, cash, medicines and other essentials for older people,
  • support for older people to overcome digital exclusion.

Learn more by clicking on the links below.

Covid-19 and poverty

Equally Ours and our members are calling for:

  • an end to Universal Credit’s two-child limit and the benefit cap,
  • an increase in child benefit of £10 a child per week – emergency support to ensure all parents can cover basic costs of raising their kids in the face of reduced income,
  • the provision of Statutory Sick Pay at 80% of their wage for people earning less than the Lower Earnings Limit,
  • advance Universal Credit payments to become a grant for those advised to self-isolate,
  • the issuance of guidance to landlords on how to treat renters in arrears, reduce faultless evictions and amend the grounds under which eviction can be served to protect those who fall into arrears due to Covid-19,
  • the introduction of mortgage repayment holidays,
  • better consumer protection, which can be achieved by ensuring that intelligence sharing is working across the enforcement landscape,
  • implementation of Section One of the Equality Act 2010, which would make local authorities have due regard to the impact of their decision making on socio-economic inequalities,
  • urgent action to support households falling into debt, including a freeze on all repayments of unsecured debt, a freeze on utility, rent, and council tax payments, the write-off of council tax and social security debts, and the suspension of all debt collection and enforcement activity with immediate effect.

Learn more by clicking on the links below.

Covid-19, pregnancy and maternity

Equally Ours and our members are calling for:

  • employers to review their approach to pregnant workers to ensure that they’re complying with the law,
  • employers to undertake a risk assessment for every pregnant woman they employ and offer home working or safe working conditions or else suspend with full pay,
  • employers to furlough pregnant women on 80% salary, not put them on sick pay.

Learn more by clicking on the links below.

Covid-19 and race equality

Equally Ours and our members are calling for:

  • Government measures to address the disproportionate health and economic impacts of the pandemic on BAME frontline workers and communities,
  • monitoring of the impact of the epidemic by ethnicity,
  • investment in the BAME-led voluntary sector so they can provide support to marginalised BAME communities,
  • action to prevent and address hate crime – including online hate – targeting BAME people and communities,
  • proportionate policing.

Learn more by clicking on the links below.

Covid-19 and women’s rights

Equally Ours and our members are calling for:

  • women and experts in dealing with abuse to be involved in every level of public crisis response and recovery planning,
  • immediate abolition of ‘no recourse to public funds’, which prevents migrant women who are experiencing or at risk of abuse from accessing support services,
  • emergency funding for charities which protect and support survivors of violence against women and girls,
  • employers to report the numbers of people they make redundant with breakdowns by sex and other protected characteristics,
  • protections against redundancy as a result of furlough for caring responsibilities or taking time off due to sickness or shielding,
  • plans for the recovery and to restart the economy to include measures that support women’s economic and workplace equality and build social infrastructure.
Learn more by clicking on the links below.

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