These guidelines have been created as a way to present a consistent and written standard of what a safer space can look like. The intent is to provide venue owners, managers and staff with a blueprint of actions that can be taken to work towards creating that space. This document is necessary due to major discontent within the arts community surrounding the lack of safety within community venues for many vulnerable groups, including but not limited to, women, LGBTQ and members of the multicultural community.
For the purposes of this document, venues are responsible for maintaining the standards outlined below in agreement with the Society for the Advocacy of Safer Spaces(SASS), and will be held accountable by SASS for their responsibilities as agreed upon.
In exchange, SASS carries the responsibility of keeping venues updated on the evolution of safer space needs, feedback on their specific venues, and providing resources when appropriate.
As outlined in this document, patrons (any person entering a venue) and performers (any artist who has been enlisted with offering their art in a venue for public consumption) have the right to address a concern related to these guidelines with venue staff or SASS members and have that concern addressed in a respectful and timely manner. Patrons also have the right to be made aware of these guidelines by both venue staff and SASS, as they are expected to comply with the policies contained within this document.
As an additional note, any services offered by the venue for a patron who has experienced an incident are to be extended for the evening of the incident unless otherwise indicated.
As the needs of the community evolve, so too will SASS, and by extension these guidelines. The venue has a responsibility to contact SASS if concerns arise about the venue’s ability to meet these evolving needs.
1. All venue owners and management are required to attend a SASS safe spaces workshop through the CSHC.
a) If complaints are made to SASS regarding an incident[i] with employees, we will work with the venue to coordinate workshop attendance for staff members as needed
b) Workshops may need to be attended annually to ensure all information regarding safe spaces is up-to-date and ongoing education is occurring
c) Venue management/owners are responsible for sharing with their staff members the information provided in workshops – preferably in a regular segment at staff meetings
2. Zero Tolerance policy for discrimination – if an incident is reported, perpetrator is ejected and has reasons explained. If ejected twice from any establishment they receive more permanent ban
a) If perpetrator is a performer, venue will discuss with them the incident at the end of performance and give them a second chance. If second incident occurs, performer is no longer welcome at the venue.
3. Venues have a responsibility to advise all contracted performers of their policies regarding the creation of safer spaces and zero tolerance for incidents in the space. This component of the contract should also provide the venue with the opportunity to nullify the contract upon discovery of any performer history that is in violation of that policy.
4. Performers with a known history of sexual or discriminatory violence cannot be booked to play unless they have participated in some form of demonstrable rehabilitative counselling.
5. Potential employees with known offences of sexual or discriminatory violence and/or abuse cannot be employed with venue – police checks should be done on all new employees to determine any history of offences.
6. All venues should try to provide a safe space (office or some other enclosed area) where a person can recover from any incident that happens at venue. If a safe space is unavailable, venue must work with the patron to identify ways to make him or her feel safer.
7. Spaces should offer gender-neutral bathrooms whenever available and they should be clearly marked, and we will clearly indicate them on the SASS website.
8. When SASS receives a complaint about a venue through our confidential auditing system (performed by a SASS-trained auditor), we will first approach the venue management about the incident and provide the opportunity to address it collaboratively before posting it to our website.
9. Posters should be hung in bathrooms identifying SASS-trained employees to whom a patron who experiences an incident can speak safely.
a) Posters in bathrooms should also identify CSHC messaging relating to bystander intervention and safe spaces – these posters will be provided by SASS
10. If and when possible, Safe Walk provided by request during open hours.
a) One employee should be designated and trained through Calgary Sexual Health Centre (CSHC) workshop – preferably female
b) If patron requires escort to vehicle, the vehicle must be within a 10 minute walking distance
c) If patron is taking transit, the stop must be within a 10 minute walking distance or less. Wait time at stop with patron should not exceed 10 minutes, if it will take longer based on transit schedule, patron can be chaperoned in venue until timing is appropriate to get to transit stop.
d) Patrons waiting for cabs should ask to be contacted when cab arrives onsite to minimize time the designated employee spends away from venue.
11. Whenever possible, venues should offer transit passes or transportation vouchers to patrons who have experienced an incident.
12. Thanks to some generous funding from The Calgary Foundation, transportation vouchers may be provided to venues in the instance that someone feels unsafe to get home on their own.
[i] For the purposes of this document, the term incident is used as a blanket term to encompass the following:
Incident: can refer to discrimination* against, verbal and/or physical harassment of, and sexual and/or physical assault of any person within the venue perpetrated “because of the race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, gender identity, gender expression, physical disability, mental disability, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income, family status or sexual orientation of that person or class of persons or of any other person or class of persons.” (as defined by the Alberta Human Rights Code)
*Discrimination refers to the attempt to “deny any person or class of persons any goods, services, accommodation or facilities that are customarily available to the public.”