Social Center or Business Model

The following are examples of social or community centers or infoshops that have developed safer space policies:

Brighton Mound Community Garden
Candlelight Collective
Seomra Spraoi

Several businesses, or spaces with some element of commercial activity, across the world have designed and implemented safer space policies. Contrary to what some might believe, businesses are entitled to implement and enforce safer space policies.  Below are links to the safer space policies of a few businesses as well as some general language that we encourage other businesses to utilize in developing their own policy.

Bluestockings Books
Jura Books
Red and Black Cafe

Silent Barn
Here is some language that may be useful if you are drafting a policy for this type of space:

No space can be completely safe and free from oppression.  We would like this space to be welcoming and engaging, and we encourage everyone to be proactive in creating an atmosphere where the safety of others is valued.  (….) is a survivor centric and survivor oriented space, and abuse, sexual assault, and discrimination will not be tolerated.

People who have perpetrated inter-personal violence, assault and/or harassment will be asked to leave the space, unless they are actively engaged in an accountability process and currently in compliance with all the terms and/or demands of that process (according to the facilitators, the survivor, and/or whomever has been designated to monitor the agreements emerging from the process).

Everyone entering (…..) is asked to be aware of their language and behavior, and to think about whether it might be harmful to others. This is no space for violence, for touching people without their consent, for being intolerant of someone’s religious beliefs or lack thereof, for being creepy, sleazy, racist, ageist, sexist, hetero-sexist, trans-phobic, able-bodiest, classist, sizist, or for using any other behavior or language that may perpetuate oppression.

By entering (….), and/or participating in the activities of (…..), you agree to abide by these guidelines.

We welcome the continuing discussion about and improvement of this policy.

Please keep the following in mind when utilizing our space or interacting with patrons of (…..):

*Respect everyone’s physical and emotional boundaries.  Ask first before touching, and listen and change your behavior if someone tells you that you are making them uncomfortable. Check in before discussing topics that might be triggering (e.g. sexual abuse, sexual experiences, physical violence, or encounters with the police).

*  Be responsible for your own actions. Be aware that your actions have an effect on others

despite what your intentions may be.

*Respect the pronouns and names of everyone.  Do not assume anyone’s gender identity, sexual preference, survivor status, economic status, background, health, etc.

*  Respect people’s opinions, beliefs, experiences and differing points of view.

* Respect the sobriety policy of the space.  If drugs, alcohol, and intoxicated individuals are not welcome, (or are only permitted at certain times), please uphold this decision.

*  Remember that this is not a secure space.  Do not bring any illicit or banned materials into it.

* Look out if there are kids and animals.  Try not to leave anything around that could endanger them or other adults.

Dealing with Conflict:

If you experience harassment, abuse, sexual assault, or if a perpetrator of sexual violence is interfering with your participation in an event/discussion, please approach a (….) Collective Member / Employee / Trusted Friend whom you feel comfortable talking to. They are here to help with any conflicts arising from the violation of our policies.

The Collective Members / Employees at (….) are empowered to enforce these rules, and to make the final decision on anyone’s expulsion.  And as stated earlier, (….) reserves the right to ask anyone who is in violation of our guidelines/store policies to leave when asked. When a decision needs to be made to give ‘benefit of the doubt’ to someone who has engaged in abusive behavior or to support to a survivor, the preference will be given to the survivor.

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  1. Pingback: what are, and why support, ‘safer’ spaces | Coalition for Safer Spaces

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