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How to deal with Code of Conduct Reports (for Conference Organizers)

Most of this is taken from Read it.

This is meant to guide how we, as a group, handle reports.

These are the steps you should take when you receive a report of a Code of Conduct Abuse

Immediately After

  1. Find a private / quiet space to talk to the reporter.
  2. Ask "Is there a friend or trusted person who you would like to be with you?" (if so, arrange for someone to fetch this person)
  3. Ask "Are you comfortable discussing this with me?". If not, find out who the reporter would be more comfortable discussing the situation with.
  4. Ask what happened, and listen to what the reporter has to say.
  5. Ask the reporter to write down what happened. If that's not possbile, organizers should write down as much as they can.
  6. Ask "How can I help?"
  7. Without pressuring the reporter, try to get this information:
  • Identifying information (name/badge number) of the participant doing the harassing
  • The behavior that was in violation
  • The approximate time of the behavior (if different than the time the report was made)
  • The circumstances surrounding the incident
  • Other people involved in the incident
  1. Tell the reporter "OK, this sounds like a breach of our code of conduct. If you're OK with it I am going to convene a meeting of a small group of people and figure out what our response will be."

Less than 1 hour after

  1. If there is any general threat to attendees or the safety of anyone including conference staff is in doubt, summon security or police. If there is no imminent danger to anyone, and everyone is presently physically safe, involve law enforcement or security only at a victim's request
  2. Inform other organizers that there has been a CoC breach. If the reporter said it was ok, provide basic details (what happened, approximate time). Example: Participant reported inappropriate comments from another partipant around 8pm. If the reporter did not want details shared, at least let other organizers know there was a breach.
  3. If the reporter was ok with sharing details, schedule a meeting as soon as possible (in the next 6-12 hours) to discuss what happened, and our response.
  4. Document the report.

Less than 12 hours after

All of this assumes that the reporter is ok with you sharing details

  1. Speak with the alleged harasser and let them know there is a complaint about them. Get their side of the story.
  2. Staff only (Neither the complainant nor the alleged harasser should attend) should meet to discuss the following:
  • what happened?
  • are we doing anything about it?
  • who is doing those things?
  • when are they doing them?
  1. Communicate with the harasser about our response. "This is our decision: {DECISION}. If you'd like to discuss this further, please contact XYZ [@TODO what is this contact method], but in the meantime, you must {DO THIS}"

When the next round of conference talks begin (where everyone is present)

  1. Communicate with the community about the incident. Something like "{THING} happened. This was a violation of our policy. We apologise for this. We have taken {ACTION}. This is a good time for all attendees to review our policy at {URL}. If anyone would like to discuss this further they can contact us using the information on the Code of Conduct."
  2. DO NOT share details with uninvolved parties.