News | 04 May 2022

Updated statement on anticipated legal action against Survivors’ Network

4th May 2022

Updated 10/05/22

Survivors’ Network is a charity supporting survivors of sexual violence and abuse. We support survivors of all ages and genders in Sussex and this includes Trans and Non-Binary people. We are committed to intersectionality, and trans-inclusive feminism is central to our ethos. Trans women are women and as such they are welcome into all of our women-only spaces.  

We were made aware via social media that a legal claim was made against us on 29th April 2022 in relation to our trans-inclusive ethos. We are still yet to receive the legal paperwork to clarify the details and basis of the claim. We therefore do not know the specific details of the claim, but based on media reports our understanding is that the claimant alleges that we have broken equalities law as they claim it is not legitimate or proportionate to welcome trans women into our women-only spaces. 

While we await the details of the claim, we wholeheartedly disagree with any suggestion that we haven’t complied with the law and we will be vigorously defending the anticipated allegations.  

We are being represented by Reed Smith, who are a fantastic law firm, and they are doing this work for free, which means we won’t have to pay any legal fees for their work.  

The most important thing for us is the continued delivery of our services supporting survivors of sexual violence and abuse, and we want to reassure all of our current survivors and anyone seeking support that we are still here for you. Our services will continue to be here for you, just as they have been since we started out over thirty years ago. We know that this might feel unsettling, but we’ve got you.  

Background information:

The claimant accessed our groupwork in 2021. She made a complaint to Survivors’ Network in September 2021 about the presence of another attendee in the group. At the end of the formal complaints process, the claimant felt that she was unable to continue accessing groupwork at Survivors’ Network.  

We recognise that the claimant hasn’t felt able to access the services she would like at Survivors’ Network. We have offered the claimant individual 1:1 support, and so far she has not taken us up on this offer. We want to make clear that this offer is still open to the claimant. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please email info@survivorsnetwork.org.uk 

You can read our Trans Inclusion Statement here.