Code of Conduct for ESCR-Net Events and Collaborations
Purpose of this Code of Conduct
ESCR-Net is committed to creating safe, inclusive and horizontal collaborations and spaces, in-person and online. This Code of Conduct is one means of further living into that commitment, building on core principles developed and affirmed by ESCR-Net Members and outlined at the end of this Code.
Scope of the Code of Conduct
The scope of this Code of Conduct is applicable to interactions and incidents between ESCR-Net members, allies and staff during in-person or online events, actions, meetings and collaborations coordinated by ESCR-Net. This Code of Conduct is primarily addressed to Members, who have committed to common principles grounded in human rights and to confronting structures and histories of oppression and exploitation. Secondarily, this Code is addressed to any allies or partners—including funders, interpreters, other consultants and volunteers—participating in ESCR-Net spaces and/or collaborating with ESCR-Net more broadly. Staff of the ESCR-Net Secretariat are expected to uphold the same principles and model interactions in line with this Code of Conduct, as facilitators of ESCR-Net spaces and coordinators of collective work.
ESCR-Net commits to:
- ensuring that this Code of Conduct, including how to report concerns or incidents, is disseminated and accessible to all members, allies and partners, including being sent to participants in advance and/or discussed at the outset of ESCR-Net events, as well as complemented by related and periodic capacity building for staff and Board;
- taking concerns or allegations of harassment, discrimination or abuse seriously, with at least two members of the Code of Conduct team reviewing any complaint;
- listening to, trusting and centering individuals subject to harassment or abuse;
- welcoming involvement of those subject to harassment, discrimination or abuse in shaping any proposed remedy;
- maintaining confidentiality and privacy to the extent possible (please see more about confidentiality in the section below);
- avoiding invitations to ESCR-Net spaces or active partnerships with individuals who have previously violated this Code (and not undergone an agreed reintegration process), or who face related allegations in another context, posing a risk to the safety or wellbeing of individuals; and
- ensuring training for the Code of Conduct team.
Violations of the Code of Conduct
ESCR-Net prohibits discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived identity or status, violence and harassment, including sexual harassment, of any kind. Harassment is any verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct designed to threaten, intimidate, silence, or coerce. Violations of this Code include, but are not limited to:
- Offensive or unwelcome comments, including slurs, negative stereotyping, and discriminatory remarks disguised as humor, including based on social status, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, disability, or physical appearance;
- Distribution, display, or discussion of written or graphic material that ridicules, insults, or shows hostility or disrespect toward an individual or group, including because of social status, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, national origin religion, age, disability, or physical appearance;
- Deliberate disclosure or ‘outing’ of any aspect of a person’s identity without their consent;
- Deliberate refusal to respect gender identity, misgendering or use of rejected names;
- Intimidation or silencing, including sustained and deliberate disruption of discussion;
- Threats, threatening language, menacing gestures, or any other acts of aggression or violence, including incitement to violence or self-harm;
- Stalking or following, including repeated one-on-one communication despite requests to cease, unwanted photography or recording, and tracking and logging online activity without consent;
- Failure to safeguard confidential or privately shared information, including publication of private communication without consent, unless otherwise required by law or legal proceedings;
- Unwelcome sexual attention, including suggestive comments, jokes of a sexual nature, deliberately intrusive questions about a person’s private life, sexual propositions, lewd remarks and obscene gestures, and requests for sexual favors (including repeated and unwelcome requests for dates);
- Distribution, display, or discussion of any sexually suggestive written or graphic material that is unnecessary, off-topic, or shows hostility or disrespect toward an individual or group;
- Uninvited touching of a sexual nature, including brushing up against in a sexual manner, unwelcome hugging or kissing, cornering, fondling, and any form of sexual assault;
- Sexual coercion or bribery, including implicit or explicit requests for sexual activity or silence about harassment in exchange for rewards, or sexual coercion under threat of punishment (including defamation, firing, negative reviews, or blocking funding);
- Attempts at intimidation, retaliation or retribution to someone who has:
- Filed or responded to a report of discrimination or harassment;
- Appeared as a witness in the processing of a report; or
- Served as a coordinator of a report of discrimination or harassment.
- Encouraging or assisting in violations of this Code of Conduct.
How to contact us about a violation
If you are facing discrimination, harassment or violence by a member, partner, staff or contracted person, notice that someone else is experiencing discrimination or harassment, or have concerns about other conduct, please inform us as soon as possible, as outlined below. The ESCR-Net Secretariat and Board have designated people for receiving reports and an established procedure for handling violations of this code of conduct.
We understand that talking about an incident that you experience or witness can be upsetting and uncomfortable. We will make every effort to respond with sensitivity and respect, and we encourage you to share the information in any way that makes you feel comfortable, including bringing someone along to support you when you contact us.
You may contact us:
In Person: You may reach out to anyone on our Code of Conduct team members (see below) or to any ESCR-Net secretariat staff member (present at a given event) who can then facilitate a connection with the Code of Conduct team. We will work to ensure your safety, privacy, and the confidentiality of the report itself and the information that you are sharing to the fullest extent possible.
Online: You are also welcome to reach out via the online ESCR-Net Code of Conduct Report Form, which will be received by Code of Conduct team members. If you have difficulty with the form or would prefer for any reason, you are welcome to contact the full Code of Conduct team at firstname.lastname@example.org or any of the individual Code of Conduct team members directly:
Code of Conduct team
Campaign and Membership Coordinator
Program Coordinator - Economic Policy and Human Rights
Greta Salazar de Villacis
Institutional Development Director
Our Code of Conduct team serves as the point-of-contact for communications and follow-up, working to collectively reach resolution of an incident. In addition, Code of Conduct team members involved in a given event will be introduced as focal points for participants to also raise more general concerns regarding threats to safe, inclusive and horizontal interactions and will be attentive to (and support other secretariat staff, co-organizers and/or leading members to be attentive to) preventive or preemptive steps to help avoid violations of this Code. The team includes the Executive Director, Institutional Development Director and two additional members of the secretariat staff, with attention to gender and other representational balance. When a member of this team is not present in a given in-person ESCR-Net event, the team will support at least one participating staff member to be prepared to serve as a point of contact and receive any incident report; the team will remain on call to support resolution of any incident. If anyone responding to an incident is involved in the incident of abuse or harassment — or we identify any other conflict of interest — that Code of Conduct team member will be recused from handling the incident. Members of the Code of Conduct team are encouraged to voluntarily recuse themselves if they perceive a conflict of interest; similarly, an individual bringing a complaint can request that a given member of the Code of Conduct team be recused due to a perceived or potential conflict of interest.
The Code of Conduct team and wider secretariat staff will undergo periodic training relevant to handling complaints and related accountability processes. In addition, the Code of Conduct team may consult with our trusted support network—including Board members and/or local co-hosts (assuming no involvement in the incident or conflict of interest) and/or human resources, legal or other advisors—on how best to handle and resolve difficult cases. In such an instance, we will only share information that is necessary for appropriate guidance and strictly uphold the confidentiality of the reporting individual(s) and the privacy of the individual(s) involved.
How we respond to information about violations
We work to stabilize the situation, prioritizing safety.
As soon as we get information about a possible violation of the Code of Conduct and in conversation with those subject to violations, we will take the steps necessary to ensure the safety of the reporting individual(s), and of the community, which may include: taking the individual(s) to a safe location; calling relevant emergency services; and/or asking those accused via the report to leave a meeting space or cease participation in online events.
We initiate a review and response process.
After stabilizing the situation, and as soon as possible, our Code of Conduct team will initiate a response process and will review the information that we have received, speak with all parties involved to the extent possible, and determine whether we need additional information. Depending on the timing and nature of a given report, this review and response process could extend beyond the end of a given event.
We determine what action is needed, including remedy.
After carefully considering factors such as the content, nature, and threat level of the incident, and evaluating the available information, we will determine a course of action, including deciding whether and which remedy is appropriate. In doing so, those subject to violations will be invited to offer input into potential remedies, including if and when to inform organizations represented by those party to the complaint. Potential remedies include: warnings; restrictions in collaborations with ESCR-Net/collective action with fellow members; removal from an event or space; or banning from future ESCR-Net spaces and events. Other remedies may be offered or suggested including mediation; related trainings and support; and/or a reintegration process. If a remedy or the timing of it puts the safety and confidentiality of the reporting individual(s) at risk, our team will take that into consideration and prioritize preventing further harm.
For the purpose of protecting complainants, the ESCR-Net Code of Conduct team will not name complainants without their affirmative consent, unless required by law.
During and after the report handling process, the Code of Conduct Team and those involved will protect the confidentiality of the information we receive, the privacy of all individuals involved, and the wishes of the individual(s) subject to violation insofar as is legally possible, and as is compatible with the safe implementation of the chosen remedy and protection of the community.
In addition, any notes or documents written by or received by the person(s) conducting the report handling process will be kept confidential to the extent possible, in accordance with applicable laws.
In an attempt to balance confidentiality and transparency, the secretariat will give a general and anonymized annual report to the Board on the types of actions undertaken in the past period.
Building on principles developed and affirmed by ESCR-Net Members
In seeking “to build a global movement to make human rights and social justice a reality for all,” founding members of ESCR-Net put in place a set of core principles or commitments to guide cross-regional solidarity, mutual learning, shared analysis and collective action. These principles have been affirmed by all ESCR-Net members, with “commitment and adherence to principles and goals of the Network” defined as key criteria of membership. In addition to a commitment to advance all human rights, these founding principles include:
- ESCR-Net values diversity so it aims to be global, multilingual and inclusive. It seeks to promote the participation of women and marginalized groups, social movements, grassroots and social justice groups, as well as individuals and academics committed to ESCR.
- The activities of the Network shall be grounded in the lived experience of people affected by ESCR violations. Thus, the Network seeks to ensure the inclusion of social movements, grassroots organizations and other groups and individuals directly affected by ESCR violations and social injustice.
These principles have been reaffirmed in our governance structures, via our movement-led Common Charter for Collective Struggle, and through our most recent Network-wide Strategic Plan (2017-2021). The aim of building an inclusive, global movement to secure human rights and substantive equality—living into the principles we profess--has also pushed the Network to have difficult discussions that grapple with power and long histories of oppression and exploitation, assess its practices and strive to create horizontal spaces, where meaningful solidarity, learning and trust can emerge and provide a foundation for collective action. With the leadership of the ESCR-Net Board and input from a wider set of Members, this Code of Conduct is an attempt to further clarify these principles in practice, providing a common set of expectations for the relationships and spaces that we want to build together.
*Please note that this Code of Conduct is complemented by a protocol for handling allegations against individual members or the staff/representatives of member organizations for similar violations occurring outside of ESCR-Net spaces, which could ultimately jeopardize the safety of fellow members and allies in subsequent events or collaborations and/or undermine the legitimacy and advocacy of ESCR-Net as a collective.