Combatting Sexual Harassment: Resources, Inspiration and Good Practice

 
As FIA’s members and sister organisations find different ways of tackling sexual harassment in the sector, we have created this dedicated resource section to bring together the many interesting examples shared from across the globe. Here you will find introductions and links to a wealth of resources, intended as both a source of guidance and of inspiration. This section will be regularly updated.

Surveys: Benchmarking, Measuring and Understanding Harassment

Many of the member unions of FIA have underpinned their work on sexual harassment with membership surveys intended to give them more insight into the scale of the issue and the day-to-day experience of their members. Surveys can be a vital first step in developing a targeted and effective strategy.

Canadian Actors’ Equity Association (CAEA) ran a survey in this area in 2015 entitled “Safe and Respectful Workplaces”. Here’s a Summary of the Findings and or you can download the questions used.

Equity UK carried out a joint survey with the Federation of Entertainment Unions in the UK in 2014, which pointed to a worrying culture of bullying and sexual harassment. The report “Creating without Conflict” also resulted in the development of Sectoral Guidelines.

Irish Equity Group ran a Membership Survey on this issue in 2016, which again served as a basis for developing several tools (included in the relevant sections below).

Kunstenbond: In the face of very differing views about levels of sexual harassment in the cultural sector in the Netherlands, the Dutch union Kunstenbond ran a Snap Poll of its membership, as a baseline for developing an action plan.

The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA, Australia) conducted a survey in 2017 and released a Summary of the Results as well as a Compelling Infographic highlighting the findings.

SWIFT (Sisters Working in Film and Television) carried out a survey in 2017 and made the results available in a report called “Tackling the Gender Disparities in South Africa’s Film and Television Industry”.

Codes of Conduct: Shared Principles as a Basis for Change

Engaging with employer counterparts and other sectoral stakeholders is a fundamental part of driving a culture change within the sector. Agreeing a shared vision and concrete steps on how to achieve it is a very constructive way of doing this. An agreed Code of Conduct can then become a shared reference and framework and may for example be usefully addended to contracts or otherwise widely communicated in the sector

ACTRA has been instrumental in developing and launching a Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct, adopted in February 2018 by a broad section of the industry. It is a commitment and a foundation for further work.

In Ireland, work is underway to developing a Code of Behaviour for use in Theatre, led by the Irish theatre institute, with the support of Irish Equity Group. An event held in March 2018 sought to build consensus around the proposed code for theatre.

SAGA the South African Guild of Actors has also developed a Code of Practice with industry stakeholders setting out principles and policy for the elimination of sexual harassment.

In February 2018, SAG AFTRA launched its Code of Conduct on Sexual Harassment (as part of a wider strategy detailed below). It defines sexual harassment and details what constitutes a hostile work environment, retaliation, and other types of prohibited conduct.

Campaigns: Informing, Raising Awareness, Mobilising Support and Calling for Change

Campaigning around sexual harassment can take many different forms. This is a direct reflection of the fact that campaign aims vary greatly: from informing members of their rights; denouncing unacceptable practice; providing a safe space to share experience; or driving a practical change in workspaces. The highly varied campaigns below offer ideas on how these different aims have been approached and the levels of resources and scale they have required. Some are union-led, some are artist-led, some are joint social partner initiatives. Most are ongoing. 

In Belgium an artist-led campaign, with the support of ACOD Cultuur, called “Engagement Arts” sets out a vision for an inclusive and harassment-free artistic sector and seeks to build grass roots support through its signatories.

In Canada: the “Not in My Space” campaign is a joined-up initiative from Canadian Actors Equity Association and the Canadian Theatre Producers Association that drives workplace change through awareness raising and the use of practical support tools.

In France, the Syndicat Français des Artistes Interprètes (SFA) has developed  an awareness-raising strategy, using an online ‘safe space’ for anonymous testimony and experience-sharing called “l’envers du décor

In the UK, as part of a wider strategy, Equity is developing a “Safe Space Campaign” to inform and raise-awareness among performers in their daily working lives.

In South-Africa, SWIFT (Sisters Working in Film and Television), in collaboration with SAGA, has launched a series of videos raising awareness about sexual harassment as part of a campaign called #ThatsNotOk. 

UNI Global Union initiated a campaign at international level to help unions in all sectors to tackle and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. This campaign, called No Excuses.”, is part of a wider platform (http://en.breakingthecircle.org/) which offers resources and tools such as booklets, guides, videos, fact-sheets, quizzes and more. All contents are available in English, French and Spanish. 

Tools, Tips and Tricks of the Trade: Strategies for empowering and protecting performers in their working lives

Unions around the world are coming up with new ideas on how they can practically support their members in relation to sexual harassment. Ideas have emerged on how to offer concrete support in vulnerable situations (eg: during casting; during filming or on stage performance of nude or sexual scenes) but also on how to support performers who feel threatened or are experiencing harassment (eg: hotlines; counselling). Better promotion of member-to-member support and empowerment is also under discussion as a useful strategy for mutual support.

Equity UK has sought to shine a light on the Casting process, both from the point of view of protection of performers, as well a promotion of diversity. The resulting Equity Casting Manifesto has also strongly informed the recently adopted Casting Directors’ Guild Code of Conduct

Equity UK has also published its broader Agenda for Change setting out its vision and planned action across a range of areas to address sexual harassment and drive industry change.

Irish Equity Group has created a number of guidance documents for members, including its Audition Guidelines and its Bullying and Harassment Policy. It has also been active in the development of the wider industry Amplify Women Toolkit, intended as a simple guide to help freelance workers and employees of any gender if they are experiencing bullying or harassment.

MEAA Australia: has published a Sexual Harassment Fact Sheet to empower members to recognise and take action against harassment.

New Zealand Equity published a Guide for Performers to help them prepare for and manage nudity and simulated sex scenes on screen or stage.

SAG-AFTRA in the US launched its Four Pillars Strategy in February 2018. It is an industry call for action for ensuring safe and equitable workspace, spanning across four key priorities.

Working with Intimacy Directors is something that some that several FIA member unions are examining and which some have referenced in their collective bargaining as a possible recourse or outside support to be sought if needed. This is a growing area, which unions will continue to explore. The international organisation of intimacy directors is Intimacy Directors International and the website gives more insight into their work, accreditation and methodology.

Sexual Harassment Support hotlines have been a support service that has been put in place in several countries, often as part of a wider industry examples.  Examples include the Danish Actors’ Union (DSF) anonymous helplineCanadian Actors’ Equity Association’s (CAEA) Respectful Workplace Advisors (as part of the Not in our Space Campaign; and work in the Netherlands, supported by the Kunstenbond and other sectoral stakeholders has resulted in the creation of the sectoral MORES hotline and support service, up and running since June 2018.

 

 

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