Academy of Forensic Medical Sciences Courses

Equality and Diversity Policy

Overall Vision

Our vision is for the Academy of Forensic Medical Sciences (hereafter AFMS) to be a successful, internationally recognised, prosperous institution that fully utilises the creativity, innovation and talents of its people, placing us at the leading edge of the sector and making us one of the best places to work, study and visit. We want to create a supportive and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and have a real choice to participate in and contribute to our activities and processes, without prejudice and discrimination. We are committed to a culture where respect and understanding is fostered and the diversity of people’s backgrounds and circumstances will be positively valued.

Implementation of this Policy will help us to achieve this vision. Having greater equality and diversity will bring many benefits to the AFMS achieving greater efficiency and better performance from staff and will attract the best students. This vision will help us to more effectively address the needs of different groups in the Academy community.


The Academy community is made up of a wide range of people with diverse backgrounds and circumstances, which we value and regard as a great asset. However some groups experience discrimination and disadvantages that has a negative effect on their quality of life. Those most often affected are disabled people, women, young and older people, lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgendered people, people of faith or of no faith, black and minority ethnic people and part-time workers.

Legislation protects the rights of these groups to ensure that discrimination is prevented and that they are given equal access to employment, education and other services. We are committed to compliance with all current and relevant anti-discrimination legislation including:

By adopting this Policy the Academy accepts its responsibility to ensure that discrimination does not take place and that everyone at the Academy is treated fairly and equally. We have therefore made the commitment to create an inclusive environment where discrimination is challenged and equality is positively promoted.


The aim of this Policy is to:

Challenge discrimination, to promote and implement equality measures, to progress social justice and to strive to ensure that no one is disadvantaged

Achieve equality of opportunity by removing any potential discrimination for:

How we intend to do this:

If we achieve this, it will in effect:

Defining Concepts – Approaches to Equality

a) Equality/ Equal Opportunities

Equality of opportunity and inclusivity is fundamental to the vision and values of the Academy. The principles of equality and diversity are at the heart of Academy life and are supported by appropriate policies, procedures and good practice.

b) Diversity

Diversity recognises the value of difference, which can provide an organisation with staff who possess a unique range of attributes and characteristics. These include diversity in age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion or belief, marital status, political belief, socio economic background, colour, nationality and ethnic origin.

By understanding, recognising and involving diverse staff groups we can maximise our success as a leading institution in our approach to, and treatment of all groups of employees and students.

c) Mainstreaming

The Equal Opportunities Commission defines mainstreaming as: “the integration of equal opportunities into all policy development, implementation, evaluation and review processes”.

This means building equality into the everyday activities of the Academy and assessing what we do and the impact upon specific groups. Equality should not be addressed as an afterthought but should be considered from the outset when developing a policy or a practice.

d) Equality Areas: protected characteristics
i) Age

The Academy celebrates and values the diversity of staff of all ages and aims to ensure that all members of staff are treated fairly and with dignity and respect.

ii) Disability

In support of the work on disability equality the Academy has developed a Disability Equality Scheme.

iii) Gender reassignment

The Academy celebrates and values the diversity of its staff and aims to ensure that all transgender members of staff are treated fairly and with dignity and respect.

Overview of Gender Equality Duty: Equality Act (2006)

The new gender equality duty came into force in April 2007 under The Equality Act 2006 and is the biggest change in sex equality legislation in 30 years, since the introduction of Sex Discrimination Act (SDA) in1975 and the Equal Pay Act in 1970. The Equality Act 2006, which amends the Sex Discrimination Act (1975), places a statutory duty on all public authorities, including the Academy, when carrying out their functions, to have due regard to the need to:

The above general duty, which applies to the Academy in respect of the way it carries out its functions came into effect on 6 April 2007. The elimination of unlawful discrimination and harassment and the promotion of equal opportunity between men and women apply to all matters relating to policy development, service provision and employment. The Academy has ‘due regard’ to the needs of its general duty under the Equality Act. As a result, the Academy’s functions will be proportionate and relevant when eliminating discrimination and harassment that is unlawful under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the discrimination that is unlawful under the Equal Pay Act 1970. Proportionality and relevance will also be applied to promoting equality of opportunity for all Academy staff. Further, the Academy understands that as part of its obligation within the general duty, the AFMS is required to have ‘due regard’ to eliminate unlawful discrimination and harassment in employment and vocational training for people who intend to undergo gender reassignment, are undergoing gender reassignment or those that have undergone gender reassignment.

Unlawful discrimination means:

iv) Marriage and civil partnership

The Academy aims to ensure that all members of staff are treated fairly and with dignity and respect whether they are married, in a civil partnership or single.

v) Pregnancy and maternity

The Academy aims to provide an environment where members of staff are supported and treated fairly and with dignity and respect during pregnancy and maternity and while breastfeeding.

vi) Race

In support of the work on race equality the Academy has a Race Equality Policy.

vii) Religion and belief and non-belief

The Academy celebrates and values the diversity brought by its individual members and aims to create an environment where staff members with a religious belief or none are treated fairly and with dignity and respect.

viii) Sex (Gender)

Please see above point iii) Gender reassignment.

ix) Sexual Orientation

The Academy celebrates and values the diversity of its staff and aims to ensure that all lesbian, gay and bisexual members of staff are treated fairly and with dignity and respect.

Harassment and Bullying

The Academy aims to provide a stimulating and supportive environment for working and learning which will enable staff and students to fulfil their potential. All members of the Academy’ community have an important role to play in creating an environment where harassment is unacceptable.

Staff who feel they are experiencing harassment or bullying in any form can contact one of the Senior Managers who offer a first point of contact to anyone who feels they are experiencing harassment.

For sources of help on harassment see the Code of Practice on Harassment for Staff and Students.

Implementation and Monitoring

a) The Academy will provide equality and diversity training for all staff.

b) A suite of policies which support the implementation of this policy covering the specific strands of equality are:

(For Staff and Students)

The above documents can be found on the Academy web page, under the link ‘policies and procedures’


a) Senior members of staff, managers and supervisors are responsible for dealing with complaints from staff under this policy.

b) Staff who believe they have not been treated equitably in accordance with the Equality and Diversity should raise the matter with their line manager in the first instance.

If the complaint is against their line manager, staff should raise it with their Head of Department. If this does not resolve the matter, the member of staff may make a complaint in accordance with the Grievance Procedure – the first step of which is to establish whether the complaint may be resolved informally.

c) No member of staff will be victimised for bringing a complaint under this policy. However, where a complaint is made maliciously and/or on knowingly false information, the complainant may be subject to the Disciplinary Procedure


All staff and students and anyone associated to the Academy (including visitors, contractors etc.) have a responsibility to adhere to this Policy. The Academy will ensure that all staff and students are made aware of this Policy.

The ultimate responsibility for this Policy rests with the Director and the Academic Advisory Board as the governing body. The Director is responsible for implementing the Policy with respect to staff and students.

Monitoring and Review

The Academy will monitor, assess and review the effectiveness of this Policy and the impact on all other relevant policies and practice. The Academic Advisory Board will approve any revisions to the Policy.

What to do if something goes wrong

If you believe you have been treated in any way contrary to this Policy:

For students, you can seek information and informal advice from the Academy Secretary

For staff, you can obtain advice and guidance from the Director of the Academy

Sources of Advice and Support on Equality Matters


Sexual Orientation

Other useful sites:

Academy of Forensic Medical Sciences

Registered Address:
Miller House, 3 Devonshire Drive, London SE10 8LP

+44(0)207 525 6030

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