Safer Spaces Statement
The Forest is a space for everyone where everyone can feel welcomed and respected. This means that it is a space free from negative actions and behaviour which might prevent people from being part of The Forest. Making this space positive is everyone’s responsibility.
Everyone entering The Forest is asked to be aware of their language and behaviour, and to think about whether it might be harmful to others. This is no space for violence, for touching people without their consent, for being intolerant of someone’s religious beliefs or lack thereof, for being creepy, sleazy, racist, ageist, sexist, hetero-sexist, trans-phobic, able-bodiest, classist, sizist, or for using any other behaviour or language that may perpetuate oppression.
Please keep the following in mind:
* Respect everyone’s physical and emotional boundaries. Ask first before touching, and listen and change your behaviour if someone tells you that you are making them uncomfortable. Check in before discussing topics that might be triggering (e.g. sexual abuse, sexual experiences, physical violence, or encounters with the police).
* Be responsible for your own actions. Be aware that your actions have an effect on others despite what your intentions may be.
* Respect the pronouns and names of everyone. Do not assume anyone’s gender identity, sexual preference, survivor status, economic status, background, health, etc.
* Respect people’s opinions, beliefs, experiences and differing points of view.
* Remember that this is not a secure space. Do not bring any illegal or banned materials into it, as doing so could threaten The Forest's ability to operate.
* Look out if there are kids and animals. Try not to leave anything around that could endanger them or other adults.
By entering The Forest, and/or participating in the activities of The Forest, you agree to abide by these guidelines.
People whose behaviour repeatedly crosses these guidelines will be sent a warning letter from The Forest asking them to change their behaviour, and if the problem continues then they will be asked to refrain from coming to or volunteering at The Forest again.
People who have perpetrated interpersonal violence, assault and/or persistent harassment will be immediately asked to leave the space and to refrain from coming to or volunteering at The Forest again.
If you experience harassment, abuse, sexual assault, or if a perpetrator of sexual violence is interfering with your participation in an event/discussion, please approach a member of the Forest Action Team whom you feel comfortable talking to, or email the secure address at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are here to help with any conflicts arising from the violation of our policies.
The Safer Spaces Team are empowered to enforce these rules, and to make the final decision on anyone being asked to leave or being permanently barred from Forest. And, as stated earlier, The Forest reserves the right to ask anyone who is in violation of our guidelines to leave when asked.
Forest volunteers who experience violence, assault or persistent harassment while at The Forest, or who see it happening, should be empowered to immediately ask the perpetrator to leave and begin the barring process.
In less immediately serious circumstances where someone's behaviour is crossing the guidelines in the Safer Spaces Policy, you should bring the situation to the attention of the Safer Spaces Team. They will begin the following steps:
* First, asking one or two other neutral members of FAT to help go through the process
* Then speaking to those involved and witnesses to establish what has happened
* Then, if someone's behaviour has indeed been crossing our guidelines, sending a warning letter to the individual concerned and meeting with them to discuss needed changes in behaviour
* If they continue to behave in an unacceptable way, or if the behaviour is particularly serious in the first instance, the Safer Spaces Team will begin the barring process.
* If a member of the Safer Spaces Team is involved in the incident, they will not take part in the decision-making process and an extra FAT member will be asked to help
When someone is barred:
* A description of the person and the reasons for their barring (not including the names of individuals' threatened if sensitive) is put in the Barred Book
* A letter is written to the person explaining that they are barred. It is sent if we have an address or email, or kept in Forest if not to be handed over if they appear again
* The Safer Spaces Team may offer a way for the barred person to return to Forest – usually beginning with an email exchange or a meeting in a neutral space – at their discretion.
Setting and Changing the Policy
This policy should be set by FAT, but implemented by a separate Safer Spaces Team, to avoid safer spaces issues taking up FAT meeting time or being discussed in insecure FAT meetings.
Changes to the policy should be made by FAT.
The Forest welcomes continuing discussion about improvement of the policy. Anyone can contribute by emailing email@example.com.
Forest is people. People is you. You is us.
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