Power-Based Misconduct Policy

Power-Based Misconduct Policy

Principles

  • We strive to create safe and equitable spaces for all members of the New Forms Community by actively addressing instances of Power-Based Misconduct.
  • This policy provides a framework for addressing reported Acts of Oppression or Violence in a way that acknowledges the effects of structural and colonial legacies of oppression and inequality. 
  • This policy adopts New Forms’ Code of Conduct, including its defined terms. This policy gives specific attention to the following sections of the Code of Conduct:
    • We recognize that racism and colonial legacies of oppression exist throughout Canadian society, and as such are present in New Forms.
    • We recognize that essential elements of the cultures, genres, and styles showcased by New Forms come from the experiences of people and communities who have been oppressed by racism, colonialism, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of bias and oppression. 
    • We recognize the specific experiences of Black and Indigenous people and the importance of considering these specific experiences in anti-racism measures.

Application

  • The Power-Based Misconduct Policy applies to all members of the New Forms Community when participating in New Forms Events or New Forms Spaces. 
  • New Forms commits to believing survivors, and to centering their experiences and safety in the application of this policy.
  • The Power-Based Misconduct Policy is a living document. This means it will be interpreted based on our evolving understanding of Acts of Oppression or Violence, and will be reviewed annually by New Forms staff and the board of directors to ensure it reflects New Forms’ values and the needs of the New Forms Community. It was first created in September 2022.

Prevention

  • Since 2019, we have worked with Good Night Out to improve safety and reduce harassment and marginalization at our events
  • At all events that are not seated, we will have dedicated Safety Team representatives, who will be clearly identified and trained to respond to issues shared by attendees.
  • We have implemented a general experience reporting tool as well as a using REES, a dedicated and secure reporting system for instances of sexual violence, which allow our community members to share concerns before and after events. 
  • All New Forms staff and volunteers interacting with the public, artists, and volunteers will receive training by Good Night Out on how to respond to harassment and other reports of misconduct.

Code of Conduct

  • The Code of Conduct was developed to provide a framework for New Forms’ efforts to prevent acts of oppression and violence and build a more inclusive community and safer spaces.
  • The Code of Conduct applies to all New Forms Community members, including the New Forms Team, partner organizations, and artists. New Forms Community Members must confirm they have reviewed the Code of Conduct in order to buy tickets to New Forms Events, to participate in New Forms Spaces. In addition, the Code of Conduct will be on display at all New Forms Events. 
  • All New Forms Team members, partner organizations, and artists must sign the Code of Conduct.
  • New Forms Community members who repeatedly violate the Code of Conduct may be removed from or denied entry to New Forms Events or Spaces. See Report Response: Removal From New Forms Events or Spaces.

Partnership Policy

  • Partnerships with other community organizations will be established  and supported in accordance with the Community Partnership Policy.
  • Due diligence in looking for  alignment with values in artists and community partners (reference community partnership doc once created)

Artist Screening Policy

  • Artists with an unaddressed history of Acts of Oppression or Violence, or behaviour that is otherwise deemed detrimental to the creation of safer spaces, are not welcome at New Forms and will not be booked for New Forms Events. . All programming decisions are made in consideration of these concerns using the fullest extent of our knowledge at the time.
  • Before booking an artist, the New Forms Team will review the artist’s past conduct in physical and digital spaces, using the Artist Screening Policy as a guide.
  • The New Forms Team will address all artist conduct issues at events as efficiently as possible on a case by case basis. 
  • Reporting an Incident

Incidents Reported at a New Forms Event

  • If a member of the New Forms Community experiences an Act of Oppression or Violence at a New Forms Event or Space, the New Forms Community member may report the incident to the New Forms Team on-site.
  • New Forms Team members on site at New Forms Events will be trained to respond to reported incidents involving Acts of Oppression or Violence.

Incidents Reported Outside New Forms Events

  • If a member of the New Forms Community experiences an Act of Oppression or Violence at a New Forms Event or Space, the New Forms Community member may report the incident by using the New Forms online reporting form, or by communicating directly to the board at board@newformsfestival.com. If there is one board member in particular you would like to report to, please email this address and ask for their contact information. 
  • If an Act of Oppression or Violence involves a member of New Forms staff or board, a volunteer, or an artist, the Act of Oppression or Violence may be reported to the staff member responsible for safety and policy by email to safety@newformsfestival.com. 

Report Process

Ongoing Harm 

  • Reports received during a New Forms Event or that involve ongoing conduct will be given priority, as they may require immediate action. The New Forms Team may take immediate steps to mitigate ongoing harm, including removing individuals responsible for the harm. 
  • See Report Response: Removal From New Forms Events or Spaces.

Handling Reports

  • New Forms will review reports received outside New Forms events in accordance with the following guidelines:
    • All reports recorded by the New Forms Team or received by email or online will be sent to the Executive Director and the secretary and chair of the Board. 
    • Reports will be responded to by the Executive Director within 7-14 days. 
    • The response will include a preliminary overview of the steps New Forms would like to take, ask any clarifying questions, and ask for feedback on the proposed steps.
    • A summary of all incidents and responses will be provided to the full Board on a quarterly basis. Details of a report and the response will be provided to the Board upon request. 
    • Reports will not be provided to the Executive Director or a member of the Board if that individual is the subject of the complaint or if the report puts that individual in a conflict of interest, as described in the Conflict of Interest Policy.
    • Reports of [sexual violence] are stored by REES. See Confidentiality.

Report Response

Principles

  • New Forms recognizes that violence and harm exist on a spectrum. With this in mind, in some situations it may be beneficial to the individuals involved and New Forms Community as a whole to respond to harm with dialogue and education rather than strictly punitive measures. 
  • Actions carried out in response to a report will be: 
    • Incident-specific;
    • Timely; reports will be responded to by the Executive Director within 7-14 days.  
    • Reviewed with the survivor; 
    • Centered on the ongoing safety of the community and the survivor;
    • Designed with consideration to:
      • Foster restorative or remedial actions, rather than disciplinary or punitive actions
      • Best practices identified by other teams and organizations 
      • Safe workplace approaches informed by an awareness of burnout, disposability and urgency cultures.
      • The resources available at the time.

Reports Naming a New Forms Community Member

  • If a New Forms Community member is named as being responsible for an Act of Oppression or Violence, they will be advised that their behavior is inconsistent with New Form’s Code of Conduct, and will be required to read and sign the Code of Conduct if they wish to continue to participate in New Forms Events or Spaces. If they refuse, or if further reported incidents occur, they will be barred from accessing New Forms Events or Spaces. If the New Forms Team believes the New Forms Community member presents a risk to the safety of the New Forms Community, they may be barred after a single Act of Oppression or Violence.

Reports Naming a New Forms Team Member

  • In addition to the steps described for reports naming a New Forms Community member, if a New Forms Team member or an artist has a record of multiple reported instances of Acts of Violence or Oppression or other violations of the Code of Conduct, they may be asked to resign or will be removed from their position. In some circumstances, a New Forms Team member or artist may be asked to resign or be removed following a single report.
  • Reports naming a New Forms Team member will be subject to the conflict of interest terms under “Report Process: Handling Reports”. 

Removal From or Denial of Access to New Forms Events or Spaces

  • Removal from or denial of access to New Forms Events or Spaces is at the discretion of New Forms and the New Forms Team.
  • New Forms may remove any individual from a New Forms Event or Space as a harm reduction measure if it is deemed necessary by the New Forms Team. 
  • A person who is the subject of a report of an Act of Oppression or Violence or who poses a risk to the safety of the New Forms Community may be removed from a New Forms Event or Space by the New Forms Team if the removal is necessary to ensure safety at the New Forms Event or Space. 
  • Individuals who are the subject of one or more reports of Acts of Oppression or Violence at New Forms Events or Spaces or who have repeatedly violated the Code of Conduct may be banned from accessing future New Forms Events or Spaces.
  • In cases where an individual is removed from a New Forms Event, New Forms will make efforts to follow up with the person removed to discuss their removal. Follow-up will not occur during the New Forms Event. 
  • Individuals who are permanently banned from New Forms Events or Spaces may request a second chance by writing to info@newformsfestival.com.   

Review Process

Purpose of review

  • New Forms’ response to reports of potential harm is influenced by the principles of transformative justice. This means the organization seeks to respond to incidents without creating or reproducing more violence. Our policy and process aren’t about determining guilt or innocence. Instead, the policy and process were created to hear about potential violations of our Code of Conduct and people’s experiences of harm connected to New Forms. The purpose of a review is to look for opportunities for everyone involved –  the person making the report, the person named as responsible, and New Forms itself – to contribute to making New Forms Events and Spaces safer, and to promote learning, growth, and accountability for New Forms and the New Forms Community.

Selecting Reviewer

  • As part of its process for reviewing reports, New Forms may use an internal or external investigator.
  • In most cases, the Executive Director will select the individual who will lead the review, in consultation with the Board. Selection will be based on a number of factors, including: 
    • The seriousness of the allegations;
    • The role of the person or people named in the report;
    • Any potential conflict of interest;
    • The safety needs of all parties;
    • The ability of New Forms to undertake an objective and neutral process internally;
    • The costs involved;
    • The training, skills, and abilities of the people available to conduct the inquiry.

Conversations with Parties

  • A New Forms representative will contact the person making the report and, with the consent of the survivor, all other named parties, to learn more about the reported incident.
  • New Forms will maintain a survivor-centered process throughout the review.

Review Outcomes

  • Communicate proposed outcome to survivor and ask for input, ask if it can be shared with other parties
  • The Executive Director and Board will communicate with all parties or appoint a representative to maintain communications.
  • Keep records and establish a private ban list 
  • Board follow up on actions taken.
  • Follow up with survivor. 

Limits of Review 

  • New Forms is an organization with a small staff team and a volunteer board of directors. As such, we do not have the capacity or skills to conduct fact-finding investigations. New Forms is also limited in the actions it can take against people named as responsible in reports, as it does not have investigative authority or the ability to take punitive measures. Where appropriate, we will provide affected parties with referrals for further support and education.  
  • If the incident does not involve a New Forms Community member, or if the incident did not happen at a New Forms Event or Space, the incident is outside the scope of this Code of Conduct and the response may be limited to offering support and resources to the affected person.  

Second Chances

  • Artists with established records of misconduct will be given contact information for the Centre for Sexuality, which they may approach for educational resources and guidance on next steps. As the safety and comfort of survivors is our primary concern, any steps taken with the Centre for Sexuality have no bearing on whether a cancelled artist will be invited to perform at New Forms.
  • Second chances may be offered on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of New Forms board and staff. In determining this, the safety of survivors is always our primary consideration, and any decision to offer a second chance will be made in consultation with survivors when possible.
  • Please note: We are a very small staff and do not have the human resources to guarantee an immediate response to concerns about artist history shared in the days directly before or during the festival. Regardless of timing, we believe survivors and will address all concerns as efficiently as possible.

Confidentiality

  • New Forms acknowledges the vulnerability, discretion and courage of survivors in reporting Acts of Violence or Oppression. To protect the survivors, reports made under this Policy will be treated as confidential.
  • New Forms will only share reports of Acts of Violence or Oppression with the consent of the person who made the report and any survivors identified in the report. 
  • New Forms uses Rees (reescommunity.ca) to collect and manage reports. Rees is a Canadian not-for-profit organization. Data stored with REES is subject to the REES Privacy Policy:
    • Rees only requires a name (or pseudonym)  and optionally, an email address, to sign up to make a report.
    • The contents of reports are stored in an encrypted format, and can only be accessed by the person who reports it and by the New Forms Team.
    • Data is stored on servers located in Canada.
    • REES does not use third party analytics or other tracking tools.

Limits to Confidentiality

  • In the limited circumstances described below, New Forms may share some or all of a report without the consent of the person who made the report or survivors identified in the report.

Disclosure to Law Enforcement

  • New Forms acknowledges that many New Forms Community members, especially Black, Indigenous, and trans people, have suffered Acts of Oppression or Violence at the hands of law enforcement, and that contacting or providing information to law enforcement risks exposing New Forms Community members to further Acts of Oppression or Violence. 
  • New Forms will not provide information about members of the New Forms Community to law enforcement except when required by a court order or other lawful demand, or in cases involving an immediate threat of physical harm to a New Forms Community Member or the general public. 
  • New Forms may provide information to law enforcement if New Forms has reasonable grounds to believe that the disclosure is necessary to reduce or eliminate a significant risk of serious bodily harm to a person or group of persons, but must weigh this risk against the risk of Acts of Oppression or Violence perpetrated by law enforcement. 

To Partner Organizations or Venues

  • New Forms may provide the names of individuals who are the subject of reports to venues or partner organizations in order to deny those individuals access to New Forms Events or Spaces. 
  • Names of survivors, the name of the person making the report, or other details of the report will not be disclosed to partner organizations or venues.

Acknowledgements

  • This policy has been made in consultation with and after reviewing best practices developed by numerous organizations and individuals.
  • New Forms specifically acknowledges and thanks the following people and organizations for their work developing their own policies and feedback on ours:

Resources

Education

General Info

Mental Health Resources

Substance Related Info

Sexual Violence Related 

Resources for Trauma and WellnessPower-Based Violence Related