Reclaim the Power Safer Spaces Agreement
Reclaim the Power is an organisation committed to campaigning for social and environmental justice.
We endeavour to be a community based on respect, trust and taking responsibility for our actions. However we recognize serious disputes happen and that we live in an unfair society based on power and privilege.
We are committed to addressing our internal disputes and internal power and privilege issues in a fair manner.
We acknowledge that oppression takes many different forms, for example on the basis of ethnicity, class, gender, gender identity, gender presentation, sexuality, age, income, ability, appearance, immigration status, belief or non-belief and activist experience.
We will address any form of language and behaviour that perpetuates oppression, however unintentionally: for example a racist or sexist joke, or interrupting someone on the basis of unspoken privilege.
We commit to actively resisting oppression by:
- learning about anti-oppressive practices
- listening to the experiences of those from oppressed communities
- welcoming discussion on these issues
- changing our policies and practices to be more inclusive
- encouraging each other to challenge oppressive behaviours
Providing safe and welcoming spaces is everyone’s responsibility. We ask participants in our meetings, actions or events to challenge attitudes and behaviour in a way that is respectful and constructive whilst treating the needs of the oppressed, and our desire for a safe space, as paramount.
We endeavour to create a supportive space for victims of physical violence and sexual violence.
We will endeavour to address incidents of theft, intimidation, harassment, aggressive violence, or unwanted sexual contact and the actions of informers and undercovers by promptly investigating any incidents.
We will take immediate and appropriate actions to help those bringing forth allegations under this policy feel as safe as possible. We will investigate all allegations fairly.
We will effectively address these problems by a range of options. When someone brings forward a complaint against another member, or is aggrieved by them, a designated person will be appointed as their supporter. The supporter will listen to the complaint and offer whatever help they think appropriate. The help we can offer ranges from talking things over, mediation, temporary removal of the aggrieving person, and permanent removal of the aggrieving person (see below for full procedure). Other options can be proposed and acted on if appropriate.
Procedure for addressing any problems
- Talking things over is the first thing we can offer to the person making the complaint.
- If talking things over with the person is not sufficient we can take a range of actions. Our primary aim is to support the person who is making an accusation. Our secondary aim is help RTP continue its work. Our third aim is to investigate the seriousness and validate where possible the incident. Our fourth aim is where appropriate to help the offending person understand their actions and where possible to help both parties to understand each other and decide a way forward that is acceptable to all parties. We need to balance helping the person who made the accusation, the needs of the community and offering support to the person accused in dealing with the accusation.
- Talking things over with the person who has been offended against may be all they want if the incident is not very serious. It may give them the confidence to deal with the issue on their own or they may not want to pursue it after talking it over. We stress we are happy to take further action if they so wish. In extreme cases we may need to take action without consent if the offending behaviour is a serious threat to either our community or the wider community.
- Offer mediation. Inform the person who is accused of offending, or who has aggrieved a member, and offer them a supporter who will talk the situation over with them and listen to their response. Have someone else or a small group oversee the mediation process. Arrange a mutually convenient time for both parties along with their supporters to meet. The person running the mediation encourages both parties to listen to each other’s point of view. The supporters help both parties express their views in acceptable ways. The aim of the mediation is to air grievances, see if a mutual understanding can be reached, and if appropriate for an agreement on the way forward to be reached. It might take more than one mediation session to reach an agreement. If it does take more than one session than the supporters will offer to meet with the people they are supporting between sessions to further discuss things. Agreements should be practical, written down and easily understood.
- Restrict the movements of the offending person, or the aggrieving person, to an area that the person making the accusation is happy with, so that the person making the accusation feels safe. See if the person who made the accusation wants to engage in mediation. Offer supporters to both parties.
- Remove the offending person, or the aggrieving person, temporarily from site, if that is needed to help the person making the accusation feel safe. See if the person who made the accusation wants to engage in mediation. Offer supporters to both parties.
- Remove the offending person, or the aggrieving person, permanently from site and the organisation. Offer a supporter to them for a limited amount of time.