MOVA’s Successful DEI Work with InclusionBoston

Ilana Coolidge
Blog Post V2

The Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA) recently worked with YW Boston’s InclusionBoston program to incorporate DEI principles into their work supporting victims and survivors of crime. The team at MOVA answered some questions about their important work and how InclusionBoston has helped them improve services for marginalized communities. 

 Why do you think MOVA is so important in today’s social landscape? How has your industry responded to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts? 

At MOVA, we strive to advance victim rights by ensuring victims and survivors of crime are supported and empowered through access to high-quality services that are trauma-informed, culturally responsive, and reflective of the diverse communities in Massachusetts. To achieve this, it is crucial that we understand the systems that create barriers to inclusion that may deter our ability to effectively meet the diverse needs of victims and survivors. 

A few ways that MOVA has responded to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts: 

  • Staff Training: MOVA has prioritized training for staff to enhance their knowledge and understanding of diverse communities.  
  • Language Access: MOVA has taken steps to increase and improve language access. This includes the availability of the LanguageLine and translated materials to ensure effective communication and access to information and services. 
  • Community Engagement: MOVA actively engages with diverse communities across the Commonwealth by collaborating with community-based organizations and advocacy groups.  
  • Grant Funding: MOVA has prioritized funding to support culturally reflective services for historically underserved communities. 
  • Policy and Legislative Advocacy: MOVA prioritizes enhancing victim rights and access to equitable and inclusive supports through policy change and state and federal funding advocacy. 

What contributed to MOVA’s decision to participate in InclusionBoston? Why did you feel like it was important to embark on this journey? 

In 2021, MOVA underwent a strategic planning process to guide our priority areas and focus through 2024. The strategic plan and accompanying needs assessment highlighted disparities, inequities, and barriers faced by diverse populations across Massachusetts. Through this process, and with the help of an advisory committee made up of colleagues in the victim services community, we committed to promoting equity in accessibility of services across victim and survivor communities. We knew that to do this, MOVA needed to increase our capacity to understand, work with, and support historically marginalized communities. Centering DEI principles allows MOVA to fulfill its mission more effectively, address disparities, enhance knowledge and competence, and contribute to a more just and inclusive society. Participating in InclusionBoston was one step toward helping us achieve this ongoing priority.  

What were some of the challenges your organization faced while moving through InclusionBoston? How did you overcome them? 

Much of MOVA’s work with InclusionBoston was during the height of COVID, so all our sessions were conducted remotely. We also had new staff members join the agency at different points during our time with InclusionBoston, which made it challenging to ensure that everyone had access to the same knowledge, information, and experience. InclusionBoston did a great job providing pre-work so that our staff was prepared for the sessions and shared foundational information. When new staff joined the agency, we provided them with access to the documents that InclusionBoston shared with us during training sessions so they could become familiar with terminology and concepts. We also spent time orienting folks to our efforts including our action plan before adding them to one of our DEI action groups. 

How has your participation in InclusionBoston impacted your staff? How has it impacted your organization’s work overall? 

InclusionBoston provided MOVA staff with language, tools, and resources to feel supported in their efforts toward consistent inclusivity in their work. The dialogue sessions offered an opportunity to speak openly and foster a safe and comfortable environment to learn from one another. MOVA has maintained these practices following our work with YW Boston and continues to provide staff with opportunities for dialogue and to share new learnings with one another.  

Our participation in InclusionBoston has impacted MOVA’s work in several ways: 

  • Improved Service Delivery: By embracing DEI principles, MOVA works to enhance its ability to provide more inclusive, culturally responsive, and effective services to victims and survivors of crime.  
  • Increased Accessibility: DEI efforts are helping MOVA identify and address barriers that may prevent marginalized or underserved communities from accessing services and information. By working towards more equal access and addressing systemic inequalities, we are striving to reach a broader range of victims and survivors. 
  • Increased Trust and Engagement: MOVA continues to work toward building trust and credibility within diverse communities to support victims and survivors in seeking assistance, sharing their experiences, and engaging with MOVA. 
  • Organizational Culture and Staff Morale: Maintaining our DEI efforts is a priority to continue fostering an inclusive and supportive work environment. 
  • Advocacy and Systemic Change: Centering DEI in our policy initiatives and leveraging partnerships helps MOVA be a better leader and contributes to systemic reform that promotes equity for victims and survivors. 

What would you say to other organizations about why they should invest in DEI work? What about with YW Boston in particular? 

 Investing in DEI work benefits organizations by improving organizational performance and outcomes, increasing access to diverse employee candidates, enhancing stakeholder relationships, and meeting the needs of diverse communities. MOVA recognizes that to be successful and create inclusive environments where employees feel like they belong, it is critical to invest in DEI work. YW Boston provides programs and customized support that help organizations get started and figure out how to sustain their DEI work so that it becomes part of the fabric of the organization. 

About InclusionBoston 

InclusionBoston engages organizations in long-term partnerships to create unique solutions to a variety of diversity, equity, and inclusion challenges. Using a customized and measurable change management process and range of training and services, InclusionBoston helps organizations create the necessary cultural shift that will support inclusive policies and practices. Our evidence-based approach builds internal capacity and a plan for cultural change while supporting organizations every step of the way. We deliver our services in person, remotely, or as a combination tailored to our partners’ specific needs. 

YW Boston can help you develop a strategy that tackles issues that are important to your employees and the people you serve. Learn more here.