Handling a Safety Complaint (volunteer and staff)

Please review “Handling a Safety Complaint” and “Witnessing an Incident” before your shifts. Keep them both on hand for reference.

As a volunteer or staff of the con, you may be approached with a harassment complaint. Here are the steps you should follow.

  1. Ask if anyone is in immediate physical danger or requires medical assistance. If so, call hotel security and/or dial 911. Do not put yourself in danger! Get professional help. If you get injured, it just makes the situation worse.
  2. Ask if the approaching person was directly involved in the situation, a witness, or a helpful third party.

If the Reporter Is Directly Involved:

  1. Check in with approaching person. Be mindful that they may be feeling upset or traumatized. They may not be able to answer questions coherently or make a full report right away.
  2. Invite them to sit down.
  3. See if they need water, privacy, or to call a friend to sit with them.
  4. Make your position clear. Say, “I am going to get some information and get you the right person to take your report.” Remember, the convention has designated the Board of Directors to handle the situation.
  5. If possible, write down the name of the person you’re talking to and any other relevant names: the subject of the report and any witnesses. Make note of the time.
  6. If they need to vent, you can listen if you’re comfortable, and take notes if you can. If you are not comfortable listening to them vent, you can de-escalate by saying, “I hear you, but I need to get this information to a Board member right away. Excuse me while I do that,” coupled with the hand-off described below.
  7. Before you leave to find a Board member, make sure the person is comfortable and, if necessary, find another trusted person to stay with them. Or, if they prefer, get their contact information, and the Board can contact them directly.

If the Reporter Is a Witness or a Third Party:

  1. Get their names and contact information if they are willing to give them.
  2. Ask if they are willing to make an official statement. If they are, let them know that you will find a Board member to take their report.
  3. Find a Board member from the list below.
  4. Give the Board member (preferably in written form) the information you’ve gathered including names, times, dates, and where to find the people willing to make a report, if any.
  5. Take care of yourself! Getting involved in a highly charged situation can be draining and/or triggering. Take time and space to get centered, and find a Board member to talk to if you need to.

Board Members:

  • Brad Roberts: Hotel, Registration, and Website
  • Scott Lynch: Programming
  • Alex Haist: Safety, Accessibility, Registration, and Website
  • Arkady Martine: Writing Workshop and Seminar, Volunteer Coordinator
  • Max Gladstone: Writing Workshop and Seminar

Document created by Sun Dragon Martial Arts & Self Defense in Austin, TX. To find an empowerment focused personal safety workshop near you, contact Sun Dragon or check: www.nwmaf.org/find-a-self-defense-instructor or www.impactselfdefense.org