Safer spaces agreement
Introduction / Aim:
Wharf Chambers Members’ Club is committed to creating an environment in which we prioritise each others’ safety and harmful or marginalising behaviour is not tolerated. No space can be completely safe and free from oppression, but we can work towards making the space safer by clarifying the standards of behaviour that are expected from our members and their guests, supporting people in reporting unacceptable behaviour, and having clear processes for dealing with it.
Some of the behaviours we want to prevent are often seen as culturally acceptable. These can only be fully prevented by every member and guest being aware of and taking responsibility for their own behaviour.
Becoming a member of Wharf Chambers means that you are committed to our core values of co-operation, mutual aid and self-management. Amongst the ways you can demonstrate this commitment is looking out for each other’s safety and well-being, listening to and respecting the thoughts and feelings of others and changing your behaviour if someone indicates you are making them feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
Below, we clarify some of the behaviours we won’t tolerate. If you encounter any of these behaviours, or any other behaviour that makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, please report it to a member of staff.
Alternatively, you can report any incidents, behaviour or other concerns to us by either emailing saferspaces[at]wharfchambers.org, using the Comments & complaints form, leaving a message in the suggestions box, or calling or texting 07523 307089.
Co-op staff will take any report of unacceptable behaviour seriously and take action as described below. They will treat anything sensitive confidentially, as outlined below.
This policy will be subject to an annual review done in consultation between Wharf Chambers and its members. If you are a member of Wharf Chambers your views on this document will be sought at least once a year via methods including Member’s Meetings, Email and on social media. If you have any immediate feedback you would like to give us about this document or any other aspect of your membership please either email saferspaces[at]wharfchambers.org, message us on social media, call or text 07523 307089, or speak to a member of staff at the bar if one is available.
What behaviour is unacceptable?
Violent and aggressive behaviour
This includes physical violence and attempted physical violence, any kind of nonconsensual sexual behaviour, aggression and intimidating behaviour, and wilful or attempted damage to the space itself.
This behaviour risks causing harm, both to the those involved and potentially to those around them, and displays disregard towards others’ safety and boundaries and may intimidate those in the vicinity. It may also jeopardise our license.
Physical violence will always result in immediate ejection from the premises and a ban.
Any kind of behaviour that exhibits prejudice, whether or not it is directed at any specific person. This includes making assumptions about people, implying their inferiority, or treating them with less respect, on the basis of any characteristic associated with marginalisation, oppression or discrimination.
This includes but is not restricted to (and in no particular order) discrimination of individuals due to their; age, disability, body shape/size, gender history, marital/civil-partnership status, pregnancy/maternity/paternity status, race, religious or philosophical belief, gender, sex, sexual orientation, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, social class/caste, asylum/immigration status, mental health, political affiliations, viral status, health status, care responsibilities or criminal conviction.
Discrimination is often something we do without thinking about it. Please be aware that you can hurt people without realising it, and listen to people if they say that you have.
Prejudiced behaviour reinforces oppression and discrimination, and as such it is actively harmful and can put people in danger. Refusing to tolerate it is an essential step towards creating a safer space.
Any behaviour that disregards others’ boundaries or aims to make them feel threatened and unsafe, including (for example) verbal abuse or threats, bullying behaviours, use of derogatory language to insult or undermine, deliberate unwanted intrusion into someone’s personal space, and willful misinterpretation of someone’s desires or behaviour (such as not leaving them alone when they clearly want you to do so).
This behaviour demonstrates a desire to cause harm and disregard towards others’ wishes and freedom to choose.
How will we respond?
At the time:
Wharf Chambers’ staff are committed to prioritising the safety of Wharf’s members and their guests – you are encouraged to seek their assistance at any time you feel unsafe in the space and they will aim to help you with the situation as soon as they can.
Once the staff become aware of any of the above behaviours occurring, they will intervene and request that the person involved desist, and remind them of the Club’s principles. they will aim to help you with the situation as soon as they can.
In more serious cases or if they persist, they will be asked to leave the premises, and ejected if necessary. Depending on the nature of the incident and the wishes of those affected by the behaviour, we may also contact (or support others in contacting) outside agencies such as the police.
After the event: If the incident does not need to be treated confidentially, details will be passed to the wider Co-op, who will collectively decide what action to take, including whether to revoke the relevant person’s membership and for what length of time (minimum three months). In these circumstances the person concerned would not be permitted access to the premises even as a guest (ie they are banned/ barred). This will be clearly communicated to the person. If they, or any member, wish to query the ban or its length, they will need to contact us, ideally by emailing saferspaces[at]wharfchambers.org.
In confidential cases: If the incident is sensitive or confidentiality has been requested, we will arrange with the person concerned for a single staff member to discuss the incident with them and report back to a sub-group of the wider Co-op. The person raising the issue can request to speak to a specific Co-op member and this will be arranged wherever possible. This person will need to disclose to the Co-op the information necessary for the Co-op to respond to the incident. However, if the person raising the issue has expressed concerns about a member of the Co-op specifically, the member will not be involved with this process.
Wharf is committed to upholding your confidentiality, however, should the situation you disclose to us involve the abuse or neglect of a child or vulnerable adult then we are committed to our duty to disclose this to the relevant external statutory agencies.
At the end of the ban period: At this point 2 or more designated staff members would meet with the person involved to make sure they have understood the reasons for their ban, this policy and the principles underlying it, and our Club ethos, before a decision is made on reinstating membership. The complainant will be informed at this stage and their input sought.