Reporting Problems & Violations
Web of Change community members have several options for reporting harassment, discrimination or other violations of safety:
Reporting anonymously via the Anti Harassment and Discrimination Reporting Form
Reporting process and accountability
We intend to uphold spaces that are free from harassment, violence, and abuse of all kinds, including sexist, transphobic, racist, and gender-based remarks, violence, microaggressions, and other transgressions. The reporting process and accountability system will be enforced for all Web of Change sponsored events and communications which include but are not limited Web of Change meet-ups, regional events, Facebook pages, and listservs.
When we believe that someone has violated the harassment policy we may want to report in order to seek safety for ourselves and others.
Principles of the Reporting System
A world free of harassment and abuse of all kind is possible if we build it. The goal of a violation reporting system is to make the community feel as safe and empowered as possible to report and address about individuals behaviors and actions, incidents that occur and situations which violate our harassment policy. Here are tenets that anchor the Web of Change reporting system.
The primary purpose of a reporting structure is to directly serve the members of the community by giving them a clear and accessible pathway to address violations to the anti-harassment policy. The secondary purpose is to serve community leadership, so that we as a community can create systems and structures that prevent future violations and build the kind of community that represents our social justice values.
Our response to reports always starts with the assumption that reports are true and will be investigated thoroughly.
We have designed our system to minimize the people that information is shared with and respects the confidentiality of survivors, reporters, and witnesses.
The reporting system will be at a minimum legally compliant, but ultimately expansive enough to address violations above and beyond legal parameters.
Strong reporting systems have multiple reporting pathways that allow reporters to choose the pathway that works best for them. The reporting system should also be accessible to every participant. Having the options for in-person conversations or written reporting gives reporters more flexibility to choose the communication method they are most comfortable with.
Reports that happen during a Web of Change event can be made in person, via email or through the Reporting Form. The Safety Team and Health and Safety Board Committee will review the reporting forms.
Reports made during events will be addressed immediately. Reports made between Web of Change events or regarding the listserv or Facebook will be addressed within two weeks of the report being made.
HOW DO I GET TECHNICAL HELP WITH THE LISTSERV?
If you have any technical problems or questions about the listserv, please feel free to contact the Community Manager team at: firstname.lastname@example.org.. You can adjust your listserv settings from your Google Groups page: groups.google.com/forum/#!myforums
When should I report an incident of aggressioN OR harassment?
You can report an incident at any time, though we encourage you to report as soon as possible after witnessing or experiencing an incident that violates the anti-harassment policy. If you have experienced or witnessed something at previous Web of Change events, you can still report the incident using any of the methods described above.
WHAT IS THE WEB OF CHANGE SAFETY TEAM
The Safety Team is a designated group of individuals who are trained to respond to community agreement violations, incidences of abuse, violence, and harassment. The goal of a Safety Team is to have multiple points of contact for reporting, increasing the likelihood that the reporter will be able to find someone they feel comfortable talking to.
The Safety Team is comprised of 5-7 people. Some things that are considered when selecting the Safety Team are:
We seek to reflect the diversity of Web of Change participants in our Safety Team. While a group of 5-7 can never embody all the identities of our larger community, we take into careful consideration the racial, sexual and gender identities of applicants in the aim that all attendees will feel comfortable speaking with at least one Safety Team member.
Ideal Safety Team members are known and trusted in the community, but don’t have formal positions of power, like board members or event organizers.
Ideal Safety Team members are open, friendly, and approachable, and will proactively seek to get to know people in the community.
Everyone on the Safety Team will receive baseline training on how to handle incident reports, emergencies, etc.
Safety Team members will distribute the responsibility into morning, afternoon and evening shifts to ensure that they are available throughout in-person events.
Safety Team members will wear a clear indication on their badges -- like a yellow dot by their name and their names will also be printed inside each event program -- so everyone remembers who they can speak with if need be. The Safety Team will work with the board Health & Safety Committee and the Web of Change Event Coordinator.
Reporting to a Safety Team Member
Here is how you can report directly to a member of the Safety Team or the Board Health and Safety Team.
Find a member of the Safety Team you trust or email email@example.com and tell them what happened. If possible, please be specific with people, places, and times. You can also fill out the Anti-Harassment and Discrimination Reporting Form which allows for an anonymous reporting process.
The Safety Team member will discuss with you and help you figure out what to do next based on the Safety Team guidelines -- eg, talk with the problematic person, avoid, etc.
Instances of violence, repeated harassment, or sexual assault must be reported to the Board Health and Safety Coordinator in compliance with our legal obligations and this policy.
If elevated, the Board Health and Safety Committee along with members of the Safety Team will address the incident and jointly decide what should be done with regards to the aggressor.
Reports will be shared with the Safety Team and members of the Board Health and Safety Committee, however names of reporters will be kept anonymous where requested.
Note: If you are reporting an incident where a board member is an aggressor, please report directly with the Safety Team. In conjunction with the person reporting, two members of the Safety Team will raise it with a non-offending Board Member ideally a member of the Health and Safety Committee, and Web of Change staff. This issue will also be addressed in board by-laws. The Web of Change board will not support or protect board members or paid staff who commits harassment and will take swift action to remove them from the board. Any board member accused of harassment will be removed from the process for the period of the investigation (including members of Health and Safety Committee).
Reporting to the Board Health and Safety Committee:
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and share what happened. If possible, please be specific with people, places, and times. You can also fill out the Reporting Form which allows for an anonymous reporting process.
The health and safety coordinator will help you figure out what to do next -- eg, talk with the problematic person, avoid, etc. The Safety Coordinator may share this information with the Event Coordinator and/or executive committee of the board.
The board will report incidences to the Safety Team.
The board will work with the Safety Team to monitor the aggressor and take additional action as appropriate according to the harassment policy guidelines.
Any board member accused of harassment will recuse themselves from the process (including members of Health and Safety Committee).
If you report an incident to any member of the board, that board member is required to report the incident to the Board Health and Safety Committee.
When filing a report, the reporter can remain anonymous. We will always accept reports filed on behalf of someone else who has been the victim of harassment or violence. However, we strongly encourage you to share your name as the reporter so that the incident can be properly investigated. In such cases, we will make every effort possible to not tell the accused who the charge was filed on behalf of.
In practice, however, it may be difficult to hide the identity of the person who believes they have been the victim of harassment during the investigation, even though a name is never released, because of the circumstances of the charge.
What happens after I report an incident?
If you report something to a member of the Safety Team, it will be treated with confidentiality, and shared only with the Board Health and Safety Coordinator and where appropriate with other members of the Safety Team and/or the Board Health and Safety Committee. If you wish to remain anonymous aside from the person you report to, please let them know so that they can keep your identity confidential while sharing your report.
All incidences of physical harassment or sexual assault must be reported to a board representative immediately. The board is obligated by law to address the physical safety of Web of Change staff and community members. If a person has been a victim of violence, we will work directly with them to get the medical attention and support they need.
Once a reporter has shared an incident with a Safety Team member, they can work with that Safety Team member to determine how to handle the situation. The reporter may decide that they want support to address the problem directly with the aggressor and are looking for support from the Safety Team and or the board; they may decide that they want the board to address it directly; or they may feel that they just want it noted for the record; etc. Safety Team members and the Coordinator will work with the reporter to decide how to handle the report except in the following incidences where a specific response is required by this policy:
Physical or sexual violence
Persistent and ongoing harassment or abuse
If someone reported a similar incident already and the person’s behavior hasn’t changed
If you report something to the Safety Team or the health and safety board committee, here is the investigation process:
- Upon reporting, the Safety Team member will record the incident and capture pertinent information like the name of the aggressor, the instance that happened, the time and date that it occurred, and how it was addressed, if at all.
- If the reporter wants the matter escalated, or if the reporting process requires that the event be escalated, we will set up a conversation between the reporter and the health and safety board member where we will go over pertinent information about the incident and talk about what is the reporter’s desired outcome, what the reporter would like to see happen, or what action is required by the harassment policy.
- Representatives from the board and Safety Team will speak with the aggressor. Depending on the incident reported, we will ask them to stop, engage in dialogue, ask them to leave the event, or take other appropriate action as discussed with the reporter. and let them know that a complaint has been made about them. See below for the response to incidences with required reporting.
If someone reports an incidence of violence of any kind at a Web of Change event, including sexual assault:
- The complaint must be directed directly to the Health and Safety Board Committee and event coordinator.
- The Health and Safety Coordinator will immediately work to get you medical or any other care you might need.
- We will immediately ask the person to leave. Depending on the needs of the reporter and whether any laws have been broken, we may contact the police.
- We will also contact an attorney to ensure that we are addressing the situation appropriately.
All reports are confidential to protect the identity of the person reporting
The identity of survivors or victims of harassment will always be protected. Only contacted members of the Safety Team and the board health and safety coordinator and event coordinator will know who has filed reports.
What if I want to report something that happened in previous years?
Since we have not had a formal reporting process established up until now, we want to open up the space for people to report previous incidences of harassment, violence, or other aggressions. While we are not able to go back and change the experience, we will take the reports seriously and these reports will help us build the type of community we want to be part of. If you have an incident you would like to report, you can email email@example.com or fill out our Reporting Form.
What happens to the aggressor when I report?
Ideally, we are building the kind of community where we can all feel safe. We will work to respect the requests and needs of the reporter/survivor while balancing the safety of all Web of Change participants. If the survivor wants to speak with the aggressor, we will support that conversation, and wherever possible will approach conversations from the perspective of a restorative justice lens. However, if a distinct pattern of behavior emerges, that is, more than one incidence, or if the survivor/reporter feels perpetually unsafe, the Board Health and Safety Committee along with members of the Safety Team will explore possible consequences up to and including:
A cooling off period from Web of Change events, listserv, and Facebook groups
Removal from the Web of Change event without refund
They may not be invited to attend future Web of Change regional or flagship events
Removal from a listserv or Facebook Group
Asked to leave the community, either for a set period of time or in perpetuity
Reported to the police (we do not take this step casually and will only do so with the consent of the survivor/reporter and only in an incident of violence). This is an action obligated by law in cases of violence and assault.
Note: At our discretion, we may publicly name a person about whom we’ve received harassment complaints, or privately warn third parties about them, if we believe that doing so will increase the safety of Web of Change members or the general public and is in compliance with the law.
Reporting Back to the Community
The Web of Change Board and the Safety Team will do our best, when appropriate, to let the community know when we are investigating an allegation of harassment, for example if something is raised publicly or on a listserv. Otherwise, we will only report out quarterly statistics. But generally, with regards to reporting back to the community about incidences of harassment, we will do so at our discretion. We are legally bound to respect and protect survivors/reporters. Reports back to the community will not contain specific identifying characteristics that can be traced back to the reporter/survivor.