If someone reports harassment directly to you or any other conference staff, make sure to get a written account of what happened. This should be kept strictly confidential to the Code of Conduct Response Team.
In case of a verbal report, you should yourself write down what you were told as soon as you can, in case you're not able to follow up. A verbal report lasting more than a minute or so is probably better conducted in a quiet/private place rather than in a general event space, for the safety and comfort of the reporter. This also decreases the chances that someone will overhear sensitive information that the reporter may not want spread around to the entire event.
If the following information is not volunteered in the written or verbal report, ask the report for it, but do not pressure them.
Things worth writing down at this point:
- Identifying information (name) 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
Generally, the Response Team is not equipped for evidence gathering: we suggest not going around and "interviewing" others involved.
Ways to receive reports
There are several ways to receive reports and making sure there are different option available increases the chance that people will feel comfortable to report.
Ways you could receive the report:
- verbally, when the reporter contact one of your CoC team members or one of the organizers;
- by e-mail;
- by one of the CoC phones;
- by Twitter - this is discouraged way to report, especially if it's not a private message, since it exposes involved sides. However, you need to make sure that CoC response team is monitoring official Twitter account and event's hashtag if it exists.
Make sure to always keep an eye on any medium of exchanging information available for people attending your event.