How to identify and prevent harassment?

2. How can bullying be prevented?

Zero tolerance must be applied to bullying and harassment: organisations should clearly express that harassment, bullying, inappropriate behaviour and racism are not tolerated in its activities and events. Immediate action is taken against bullying and harassment, the matter is dealt with, and the situation is monitored. All students involved with the organisation are encouraged to bring up any bullying situations they experience or witness. The best way to succeed with this is to have the active members of the organisation, such as the board, officials and other volunteers, fully committed to the principle. Drawing attention to the existence of various event safety and equality principles is also important, as it creates a feeling that the organisation and its members are taking the realisation of equality seriously.

  • It is important to create a tolerant and open atmosphere in events and activities.
  • Diversity is understood and accepted within the organisation.
  • The organisation has appointed someone to be in charge of equality affairs.
  • The organisation has a goal-oriented equality plan, and the people involved in the organisation as well as its members are familiar with it. Communication about the plan towards the members is active, and the organisation’s volunteers are provided with training on it.
  • Practices related to event arrangements and safety are clear, the organisation has principles of safe space in use, and its events have persons in charge of problem situations.
  • Good practices of event organisation are taken into account when organising events.
  • Bullying is considered a problem for the entire community, not only the bullied person: bringing up the topic is encouraged, and bullying is condemned by the entire community.
  • Attention is paid to how group formation is conducted and meeting other people supported in the community – in relation to new students, the board and other active members.
  • Activities are assessed based on predetermined indicators.
  • Feedback is collected on the activities, and the organisation’s operating practices are examined through collective discussions.
  • Meeting practices are examined: are they functional and do they provide space for everyone to express their opinion?
  • The board of the organisation and other active members draft clear ground rules at the beginning of the year, and everyone commits themselves to following them. The rules can cover issues such as these:
    • How to work in the organisation, what are its operating practices
    • What channels are used for communication, when should people be able to reach you, answering messages
    • Notifying about absences and being unable to attend well in advance
    • Clear areas of responsibility and division of labour between people
    • Giving and receiving positive and constructive feedback
    • Collecting and processing feedback (both feedback from members and feedback collected from among the board and active members)
    • Courtesy: treating everyone with respect, greeting, thanking, being on time, doing things that have been agreed upon on schedule, helping and advising others when needed
    • The organisation’s communication towards the membership and outwards is transparent and current