The initial response and acknowledgement of received report should be sent to a person reporting an incident as soon as possible. Ideally after just few hours or half a day.
In case of threats to physical well-being
Most harassment complaints aren't of this nature, but if someone reports that an attendee has committed or is threatening violence towards another attendee, or other safety issues:
- take action as soon as possible
- if there is any general threat to attendees or the safety of anyone including conference staff is in doubt, summon security or police.
- if everyone is presently physically safe, involve law enforcement or security only at a victim's request. In many cases, reporting harassment to law enforcement is very unpleasant and may result in further harassment. A staff member can provide the list of emergency contacts and say something like "if you want any help reporting this incident, please let us know" and leave it at that.
All other reports
For all other reports that don't threat physical well-being, you should do the following:
- offer the victim a private place to sit;
- 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);
- let them know that the Code of Conduct team will handle the matter;
- ask them if there is anything you could help with and offer assistance;
- make sure to offer emotional help;
- thank them for reporting:
- "Thank you for reporting, we will take care of it. I am going to convene a meeting with Code of Conduct team and decide on actions we will take."
- Or, if the incident was of a very private matter, say: “If you're OK with it I am going to convene a meeting of Code of Conduct team and decide what our response will be." Pause, and see if they say they do not want this. Otherwise, go ahead;
- make sure to let them know you will inform them about the actions/progress of the Code of Conduct team.
- make sure they know that their personal information will not be disclosed to anyone except Code of Conduct team and DSF Code of Conduct committee
- stress out that their identity will not be revealed (unless it is necessary in handling the issue) to the offender.
Reports by e-mail
If you received report via e-mail:
- you should let them know that you received the report as soon as possible;
- if the person is at your event ask if it's possible to meet with them;
- Respond quickly, reassuring that their report has been received, is treated seriously and with care, and that you will get back to them once you decide on actions that should be taken.
Reports by phone
If you receive report by phone:
- if the person is at your event ask if it's possible to meet and speak with them;
- ask them about their preferred way you could contact them later (e-mail, phone number, other),
- inform them that Code of Conduct team will handle the report and will get back to them as soon as possible.
Reports by Twitter
Follow the steps from phone/e-mail sections. Ideally meet and ask for the better way to communicate with them.
If the report is in public tweet - make sure to tweet: "We will contact you shortly" and ask about details in private message. If it's possible it would be good to ask them to remove Tweet, to avoid them being exposed to random people from Twitter and public shaming of the offender.