SAFE GUARDING POLICY  

The Mono Box aims to foster a collaborative, community-driven and safe environment for participants, practitioners, staff and volunteers alike. This is an environment we nurture within The Mono Box’s studio spaces but also throughout any space that we and/or our participants inhabit both physically and online.

There is no place for any form of bullying, harassment, abuse, victimisation or sexual misconduct at The Mono Box. Behaviour of this kind is contrary to the values of collaboration and community that are deeply instilled in our work and is detrimental to our mission and purpose as an arts organisation working with and for emerging artists and young people. It is integral to our very existence that our spaces are defined by the integrity of our organisation and the protected dignity of everyone with whom and for whom we work.

The aims of our Safeguarding and Dignity Policy are:

  • To nurture and maintain a thriving and positive working environment for all participants, volunteers, staff and practitioners, free from any form of inappropriate or unacceptable behaviour.

  • To communicate to all of our stakeholders that they have a significant role to play in protecting and maintaining the safe environment that The Mono Box has created.

  • To provide a framework – with reference to and in support of the Code of Behaviour set out by the Royal Court in response to the events at the Royal Court Theatre Day of Action on Saturday 28th October 2017 – for respect and positive behaviour within The Mono Box workshops, activities, and spaces.

  • To signpost the options available for participants, staff, volunteers and practitioners who feel that they have been the subject of inappropriate behaviour of any kind.  

  • To set out clearly the process for managing and supporting individuals when concerned are raised regarding inappropriate or unacceptable conduct within The Mono Box’s environment.

EXPECTATIONS

The Mono Box expects all participants, staff and stakeholders to treat each other with respect, courtesy and consideration at all times. Every individual is expected to behave respectfully and have the right to expect respectful behaviour from others. Active commitment is expected from everyone and this can be shown through:

•          Treating others with dignity and respect.

•          Discouraging any form of harassment by suitably challenging inappropriate behaviour, making it clear that such behaviour is unacceptable (and raising concerns with The Mono Box Directors where appropriate so these can be dealt with).

•          Supporting any individual who feels they have been subject to harassment or inappropriate, including supporting them to make a formal complaint if appropriate

•          Staff, practitioners and volunteers have particular responsibility for setting standards and ensuring appropriate workplace behaviours are maintained. They should set a good example and ensure concerns raised are acted upon.

RESPONSIBILITIES

The implementation of this policy is compulsory across the full scope of The Mono Box’s activities and specific responsibilities are outlined below. All staff, practitioners, participants and volunteers are expected to operate within codes of behaviour outlined within this document.

The Trustees of The Mono Box are ultimately responsible for the implementation of this policy.

The Directors are responsible for:

• Ensuring that Safeguarding implications are constantly reviewed and implemented across the scope of the work of The Mono Box.

• Considering and implementing any changes in procedure and process required due to a complaint brought about through this policy.

• Ensuring that Safeguarding is considered in all appointment of staff including freelancers and volunteers.

• Supporting managers and staff with advice on safeguarding issues and advising Trustees regarding decisions and action to be taken in any safeguarding situation.

• Ensuring that all staff and practitioners receive necessary communication around safeguarding and that they are able to discuss safeguarding and dignity issues confidentially and receive support and guidance as situations arise. An open and responsive culture is essential.

All participants, practitioners, staff, volunteers and guests of The Mono Box are expected to behave in line with Code of Behaviour set out by the Royal Court in their provocation regarding PREVENTING SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND ABUSES OF POWER. This can be found in Appendix A of this document.

For practitioners, volunteers and staff – how to react if a report of harassment is being made.

  • React calmly

  • Reassure the individual that it is not their fault and pass no judgement of any kind.

  • Remind them that there are reporting procedures that you have to adhere to, and that you may not be able to keep this to yourself

  • Listen carefully

  • Clarify what you have heard

  • Make notes during or immediately after the meeting

  • Follow procedures as outlined in the below section

  • You may wish to signpost the individual to the helplines available in Appendix B of this document.

 

Individuals who raise concerns or report wrongdoing are sometimes worried about possible repercussions. We aim to encourage openness and will support anyone who raises genuine concerns in good faith, even if they turn out to be mistaken.

Any person who raises genuine concerns under this policy will not under any circumstances be subjected to any form of detriment or disadvantage as a result of having raised their concerns. The victimisation or harassment of an individual making a protected disclosure will be treated as any other form of victimisation or harassment outlined in this document. 

 

RAISING AND REPORTING SAFEGUARDING AND DIGNITY ISSUES

Every individual who interacts with The Mono Box plays an important part in promoting the safety and dignity of others.

Staff, practitioners and volunteers must raise all cases of suspected or alleged harassment in line with the procedures identified below:

If you feel that you have been subject to harassment of any kind please report it directly to your practitioner or – if not appropriate – please report it directly to the Directors of The Mono Box.

The Directors will immediately consult each other on the best course of action.

In accordance with natural justice, any person against whom a complaint has been made has the right to know the nature and sufficient details of the complaint in order to respond. It is important that no decision is taken until the complaint has been investigated and the person against who the complaint has been made has had the opportunity to respond.

In order to safeguard individuals, confidentiality must be very strictly respected and information limited to those who have a need to know. The Mono Box reserves the right to seek advice from or involve appropriate external authorities if it believes that it is under an obligation to do so. Any breach of confidentiality will be taken incredibly seriously and investigated in its own right.

DIRECT INFORMAL RESOLUTION

In the first instance, unacceptable behaviour should be dealt with informally, where appropriate, as this is often the most effective method for resolving issues regarding safeguarding and dignity.

It may be the individual making the complaint is willing to approach the other party with support of the Directors or other members of The Mono Box core team to reach a resolution.

A meeting between both parties may be organised and facilitated by a member of The Mono Box team where the spirit must be one of dialogue and not of accusation. There must be a concerted effort to raise awareness, increase understanding and demonstrate why distress may have occurred as well as exploring how such incidents might be avoided in the future. If a successful resolution is achieved, The Mono Box may keep a confidential record and inform the Board where appropriate. Both parties will be advised of such an eventuality.

INDIRECT FORMAL RESOLUTION

It may be the individual making the complaint may feel unable to take part in the resolution process. With their expressed permission, the Directors may seek informal resolution on their behalf by arranging a meeting with the individual about whom the complaint is made. The Directors will communicate the outcome of this resolution thoroughly with the complainant to ensure that they are satisfied that a resolution has been reached.

The nature and spirit of this meeting must be as with a direct informal resolution.

FORMAL PROCEDURE

If the situation is not resolved by the informal process or the matter is particularly serious, the complainant may decide to make a formal complaint to The Mono Box Directors.

A complaint should be made in writing immediately after the incident and should include the following:

•          Details of any informal resolution that has been attempted

•          Any evidence supporting the allegations made, e.g. online messages

•          Names of any individuals who may be approached to provide evidence of the alleged unacceptable behaviour.

 

The complainant may seek the support of an industry representative in preparing the formal complaint. On receiving the formal complaint, the Directors may arrange a meeting with the complainant to clarify the grounds of the complaint and how the complainant thinks it should be solved, and explain what will happen next.

The Directors will also meet with the person against whom the complaint has been made and will provide him/her with a copy of the complaint. The Directors will explain that an investigation into the allegations will be carried out, which will include an interview with the person against whom the complaint has been made and any relevant witnesses, and consideration of any evidence that may be presented.

The person against whom the complaint has been made may also seek the support of an industry representative.

Both the complainant and the person against whom the complaint has been made may be accompanied to meetings by a friend or fellow participant/staff member/volunteer.

The investigation will be made by a member of the The Mono Box Board.

The investigator will meet with the complainant in order to confirm the details of the complaint. The investigator will also, where reasonably practicable, request witness statements from and/or interview any relevant witnesses nominated by the complainant if they feel it is appropriate.

The investigator will meet the person against whom the complaint has been made to hear his/her response to the complaint.

The investigator will also, where reasonably practicable, request witness statements from and/or interview any relevant individuals nominated by the person against whom the complaint has been made.

Any person interviewed during the investigation will be sent a copy of the notes of the meeting and asked if they agree it is a factually accurate note of their interview. Where there is disagreement as to the contents of the note, both versions will be sent to the Board.

The two parties to the complaint will receive copies of all relevant documents which may include interview notes, written statements or other evidence. At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will write a report for the Board detailing the facts as established and saying whether, in their opinion, there is a case to answer. It will be the collective responsibility of the Board to decide what action to take.

The Board will give both parties written confirmation of the outcome of the process as soon as is reasonably possible.

Possible Outcomes:

NO FURTHER ACTION

The Board will conclude that the case will be closed and steps may need to be taken to restore reasonable working relationships between the parties. No documentation regarding the complaint will be put on the file of either the complainant or the person about whom the complaint has been made.

FURTHER ACTION

Instigate disciplinary action against the person against whom the complaint has been made. The Board will collectively decide on what disciplinary action is appropriate based on the nature of the complaint.

Where appropriate, necessary authorities will be informed.

CONCLUSION

The Mono Box is committed to honest, open dialogue regarding dignity and safeguarding and will endeavour above all things to protect its participants, volunteers and staff from any form of harassment or abuse that they encounter within our spaces and activities – both physical and online. We believe that we all have a duty of care to each other and that we all must carry equal responsibility to uphold the values of community and equal collaboration that are so integral to our work. 

APPENDIX A

Code of Behaviour: PREVENTING SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND ABUSES OF POWER

An offering, a provocation, a hope for CULTURE CHANGE.

Responsibility

•          You must take responsibility for the power you have. Do not use it abusively over others more vulnerable than you. Think about what you want, why you want it, what you are doing to get it, and what impact it will have. If this is achieved, the problem is solved.

•          Call it out, straight away, even if it is awkward to do so. Don’t feel shame. Use this language: “That is not appropriate – it makes me feel uncomfortable.” Empower yourself and others. Stand up for yourself.

•          No one is alone. Everyone has responsibility to stand up for each other, to call behaviour out and to report it. Do not be a bystander.

•          Every organisation signs up to leading an active sexual harassment policy. Make it a living policy. It should be based around workshops and scenarios to clarify the so-called grey areas. (See the Royal Court Theatre policy on Bullying, Harassment and Unwanted Sexual Attention.)

•          Once harassment and abuse is proven, it must not be hidden. Boards and organisations cannot conceal it as a reason for dismissal. Challenge confidentiality – why is it needed and who is it protecting.

Reporting

•          Freelancers must be empowered to use the same reporting structures as staff. Also use ITC, UKT, SOLT, Equity, BECTU, Stage Directors UK, Federation of Drama Schools, Arts Council England, and other industry bodies.

•          Have an open, clear reporting structure. There should be three possible structures to report to across an organisation. As well as line mangers and senior management, use peers and trusted colleagues – everyone in the organisation is responsible.

•          Talk to colleagues in other theatres or companies to support your process if you need to.

•          Logging behaviour is important, even if no further action is wished for. This way patterns are picked up.

•          We understand these reporting structures are not available to everyone and we will work with the industry to create clear places to report and get advice going forwards.

•          The industry must develop a model for dealing with historic cases.

•          (Click here to see the Royal Court Theatre policy on Bullying, Harassment and Unwanted Sexual Attention).

Raising Awareness

•          Induct all staff, freelancers, casting directors, writers, actors, stage managers, crew on their first day of work into the policy and code of behaviour. They should sign that this has happened.

•          Run annual workshops with staff led by trained facilitators. Use scenarios and language.

•          Consult with freelancers. (The Royal Court Theatre will be holding a freelancer session in January 2018). Encourage them to use theatre buildings for their one-to-one meetings.

•          Recognise the blurred boundaries between work and social spaces. Don’t exploit them.

•          Interrogate the stories and representations we put on stage. We are in the business of representing the world. Take responsibility. Make it equal.

•          Engage in a robust conversation between drama schools and industry – to tool up students – acting, stage management, technical, directing, writing, producing – to be confident, empowered and appropriate. (The Royal Court Theatre is in positive dialogue with Mountview and the Federation of Drama Schools in advance of their next consortium meeting).

Breadth and Scope

•          Theatre is an art form – the work can and should be challenging, experimental, exploratory and bold. Artistic freedom of expression is essential but the creative space must be a safe space.

•          The theatre industry is broad: it involves an intimate, rigorously personal system of drama training, it involves office work, auditions, rehearsals, crewing, late night working, bars, parties and public-facing frontline work, ambitious young people.

•          The industry includes commercial producers and theatres, not-for-profit publicly funded, touring and fringe companies, presenting venues, festivals – all have different contexts and resources.

•          A policy needs to speak to this scope of practice, and recognise particular areas of risk.

•          Drama students, freelancers, early career artists, actors at all stages of their career, ushers and bar staff, and core junior staff are all vulnerable to abuses of power.

•          Recognise that abuses of power can happen across diverse gender and working relationships.

•          Take responsibility and empower across the scope. Write a policy that fits.

Patterns and Scenarios

•          Of our 150 stories, 126 related directly to experiences in our industry.

•          3% were incidents which happened in rehearsals or backstage.

•          16% were sustained inappropriate sexual comments over a period of time during a production or in a workplace.

•          14% happened at drama schools between tutors and students.

•          3% happened at work parties – press nights, birthdays, end of the run, Christmas, in the pub or at dinner, with alcohol. In the Town Hall meetings this blurred social context came up many times.

•          10% happened in interviews or auditions for jobs.

•          3% happened when invited or taken into an abuser’s home.

•          3% happened in an office context.

•          (The remaining 8.6% were “other” – witnessed, online, conference)

•          That 51.3% of the stories submitted took place in rehearsals, backstage, in drama schools, or involved sustained verbal abuse suggests significant change needs to happen in institutional culture.

•          There were 11 accounts of rape.

Some suggested codes of behaviour to avoid these patterns and protect the areas of risk (this is only a beginning):

•          It is never appropriate for someone in a junior role to be asked by someone in a senior role to work outside hours in their private home.

•          It is never appropriate to verbally sexually objectify anyone’s body in a rehearsal room or theatre.

•          It is never appropriate for an actor to be made to feel vulnerable through nudity, undress or costuming.

•          It is never appropriate to send overly personal or suggestive communications to a junior colleague.

•          It is never appropriate to initiate unwanted intimate physical contact.

•          It is never appropriate to push people to share their personal experiences to deepen the work. If it is offered, it has to remain within the trust of the working room.

APPENDIX B

Signposting for cases of harassment, victimisation and abuse:

  • Equality and Human Rights Commission – Sexual Harassment – 0845 604 6610

  • NHS Direct Helpline: 0845 46 47

  • Victim Support 0845 30 30 900

  • Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre 0808 802 9999

  • National Domestic Violence Helpline 08457 023 047

  • The Rape and Abuse Line 0808 800 0123

  • Women’s Aid Federation of England 0808 2000 247 

  • Samaritans: 116 123

  • National Bullying Helpline: 0845 22 55 787

  • Acas Helpline: 0300 123 1100