Face equality should be included in the school curriculum, and young people should be taught that people with disfigurements should be treated the same as everyone else

Summary of Recommendations

1. In school and education

1a Schools, colleges and universities must ensure that disfigurement is included in their anti-bullying and equality policies, and have robust, measurable processes in place to respond effectively to allegations of bullying and mistreatment. They must comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty and Equality Act, which should lead to clear positive perceptions of people with disfigurements as part of both school and wider communities.

1b Teachers and all school staff should receive face equality training to build their knowledge, skills and confidence to ensure that all appearance prejudice is responded to and addressed, and discrimination is stamped out.

1c Face equality should be included in the school curriculum, and young people should be taught that people with disfigurements should be treated the same as everyone else. This should include teaching that people with disfigurements can live full, happy and fulfilled lives.

1d Teacher training providers must ensure that all initial teacher education includes content and guidance on bullying that targets appearance and creating inclusive educational settings which respect face equality.

1e Further and higher education agencies must work with schools to tackle the inequality of opportunity for people who have a disfigurement, and the lack of aspiration this often causes.

2. In the workplace

2a Trade and industry bodies must ensure that employers are aware of their legal obligations to ensure people with disfigurements are not treated unfairly or discriminated against in the workplace. This must include guidance on how to deal with the issue of disfigurement in the recruitment process.

2b Employers should include disfigurement in their equal opportunities monitoring forms so that they can measure equality of opportunity within their organisation, and work to ensure that their workforce is appropriately diverse. They must ensure their policies and practices are compliant with the Equality Act and Public Sector Equality Duty, where appropriate.

2c Employers should provide ‘disfigurement confidence’ training to ensure that their human resources function and all line managers feel informed, empowered and confident in dealing with applicants and colleagues who have or acquire a disfigurement, so that they don’t get overlooked for promotion and other opportunities.

2d Staff should receive face equality training to ensure that they do not treat colleagues or clients with appearance bias and discrimination.

2e Jobcentre, career services and recruitment and other employment agencies should ensure that their attitudes and biases are not influencing job seekers and candidates in their career aspirations.

3. Out and about

3a Building on Changing Faces’ work with the British Beer & Pub Association, other industry and trade bodies must develop guidelines and training for staff to ensure they are confident in dealing with customers and visitors who have a disfigurement.

3b Operators of public transport franchises should run poster and advertising campaigns on face equality to encourage passengers not to stare, and to treat everyone with respect. Train guards and public transport staff must be given training to be able to deal with people with disfigurements, and give them help when it is needed.

3c Police and local authorities need to do more to inform people that abusing someone with a 
disfigurement is a hate crime, including shouting names and other abuse in public places. This will also encourage people who have a disfigurement to feel more confident to report such incidents.

4. Social media

4a Social media platforms must revise their community guidelines and terms and conditions to ensure they take a zero-tolerance approach in tackling trolling and abuse that targets people with a disfigurement. They should organise face equality training for any staff who deal with user complaints.

4b Social media platforms should take decisive action against individual users who repeatedly troll and abuse people with a disfigurement. This should include temporary or permanent exclusion from the platform.

4c Building on recent efforts to tackle threats of sexual violence on social media, the Home Office and Ministry of Justice should ensure that agencies in the criminal justice system better protect people with disfigurements from people who abuse online.

5. Relationships & family

5a Dating apps and websites should use models in advertising campaigns who have an unusual appearance to help to ‘normalise’ disfigurement. They should also ensure appropriate resources are in place to quickly and effectively tackle instances of abuse on their platforms.

5b The wedding industry should develop guidelines and help to ensure that wedding service providers are disfigurement confident and do not discriminate, using work by the British Beer & Pub Association as an example.

5c Charities, fostering agencies and local authorities should include parents with a disfigurement in their campaigns, again to normalise dis gurement and show that people who look different can make excellent parents – like everyone else.

6. Health care

6a The NHS and health related organisations throughout England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales must make it a priority to reduce health inequalities as a result of disfigurement and ensure patients with disfigurements are treated fairly and respectfully.

6b All health care staff must receive training and guidance on how to deal with the issue of 
disfigurement and ensure that they are not making negative assumptions about patients with 
disfiguring conditions.

6c Clinical Commissioning Groups and Health Boards should provide adequate staff and resources to meet the psychosocial needs of patients to ensure the best patient outcome.

6d Every health care professional working directly with patients with disfiguring conditions (both clinical and non-clinical) must receive training on recognising and addressing the psychosocial impact of disfiguring conditions.

7. Crime, justice & civil society

7a The Home Office and Ministry of Justice in England and Wales, the PSNI in Northern Ireland and Police Scotland must invest in a public information campaign to increase awareness of disfigurement hate crime, ensuring that front line criminal justice sta are appropriately trained to deal with complaints.

7b The Equality & Human Rights Commission must invest in raising awareness of the Equality Act, both in order to increase adherence to it but also to reassure people with a disfigurement that the Act protects them, and to encourage them to come forward when things happen. The Commission should also encourage other bodies to ensure disfigurement features in their diversity and inclusion research, strategies and reports.

7c The legal profession, including professional bodies, HM Courts & Tribunals Service and other regulators must be given training to ensure that they do not discriminate against clients with a 
disfigurement or anyone in the legal system.

7d Elected officials should affirm their support for Face Equality to ensure their constituents know that they are aware of the issue and can be relied upon to support legislation and projects to reduce discrimination.

8. The media

8a All terrestrial broadcasters should ensure that people with disfigurements feature in their factual, documentary and news outputs but ensure that it is done in a sensitive, accurate way, avoiding sensationalist or offensive titles.

8b Disfigurement must be normalised on television by including characters who have an unusual appearance in soaps, dramas and other programming, with care taken to ensure the disfigurement does not suggest villainy, untrustworthiness or any other negative characteristic. Programme makers should strive to use actors who have disfigurements themselves where possible, rather than using prosthetics or make-up.

8c Media regulators such as IPSO and Ofcom must adopt guidelines on the portrayal of disfigurement in print and broadcast media, and ensure that complaints about the portrayal of 
disfigurement are taken seriously, handled quickly and e ectively, and statistics on such complaints and their outcomes are published annually.