A few years ago, in 2015, I did a survey of Australian dance events, to see if they included a code of conduct on their event websites. There were mixed results, including a fairly unpleasant email from the organiser of an event which did not have a CoC at the time, and has since folded.
I (or someone else!) should at some point revisit this survey, to see if things have changed much in Australia. Do we see CoC at all Australian events? If not, which events don’t have them, and why not?
But that’s not the topic of this post.
Now I’m wondering if events (including local party nights) have follow-up processes to accompany their CoC. It’s all very well to have a list of things attendees cannot do at the event, but I have some questions.
- Does the CoC provide specific examples of what constitutes sexual harassment or assault in a dance setting?
- What are the consequences for people who break the rules?
- Who enforces the rules?
- Is there a spectrum of responses from warning, through banning, to calling the police or evacuating a building?
- If these responses exist, are they listed in the CoC?
- What is the in-house process for these responses?
- Who has the authority to call for a consequence and then enforce them?
- How are these actions documented?
- How are these documents stored?
- Who has access to them?
- Is there any follow-up on these actions?
- Is there any scope for the repatriation of banned offenders?
- What are the terms for their return to the event?
- Who monitors this process?
- How is information about who is banned passed between generations of staff at an event?
- How does this communication of knowledge account for Australian defamation laws, which would deem this publication of a potentially defamatory statement?
- If a banned person does decide to sue for defamation, who would they sue – the organisation/business? An individual working at the event? If the latter, how does the host organisation respond to and support this person?
- How does the host organisation ensure that staff are not exploiting their power to break the CoC rules? What measures are in place to police the policers?
I feel at this point the majority of events have gone no further than simply cutting and pasting a CoC. These later questions all ask for a fair bit of work. And I know there are some organisers which do not prioritise safety to the extent that they would invest in this sort of labour.