First year – and returning! – RollerCon attendees get blown away at RollerCon. RollerCon is a great example of the size and friendly awesomeness of our community. But no public event is 100% safe. SkateSafe is our safety department, dedicated to two goals:
- Make RollerCon safe for our attendees.
- Make sure RollerCon attendees feel safe.
Those aren’t the same, but they’re both very important to us. Here are some of the ways we do that.
SkateSafe is made up of three sub-departments:
SafeWalkers are sober on-call security volunteers – mostly Medics – who are ready to help you anytime you need them. You can call them to report an incident, request a walk back to your room (for yourself or a friend), or anytime you need a wing-person to get you out of a sketchy or unsafe-feeling situation in the Expo or one of our host hotels during RollerCon. We have staffed SafeWalkers from each hotel, and Skating SkateSafe folks to close out the Expo to Fremont St skating route, as well. When you check in at RC Registration, we’ll give you a SafeWalk card that you can tuck in with your badge and ID to get ahold of a dispatcher who can send any of them your way. Please keep it handy in case you need us! SafeWalk hotline: 774-993-4257
Outreach is our HQ department that creates, manages & enforces our policies, including harassment and reporting, as well as publishing SkateSafe and general safety tips and group information. Outreach manages our Code of Conduct, which we require all RollerCon staff to sign, and we share and invite our community to sign and respect. This department also manages our Incident Report Form, which can be anonymously submitted. Please note that the CoC and reporting form link are available in the RollerCon app!
Medics work with our Officials and the rest of Safety and are responsible for physical health of our attendees, including on track safety, injuries, heat exhaustion and everything health-related. Our Medics must submit their credentials every year and keep scrupulous records about injuries and incidents. Find out more about our Medic team and what happens if you get injured at RollerCon here.
Please check out – and sign! – our Code of Conduct, which also specifies RollerCon harassment procedures. As with all things RollerCon, your input is invaluable. We need it! Is anything missing here? Could we do more? Please don’t hesitate to talk to us about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SkateSafe started as a good idea years ago to create a department that does outreach to help people be safer at RollerCon. In 2017, we evolved it into a more active safety committee; merged SkateSafe with our Safety / Dicks Team, and began peopling some of the more crucial jobs with Medics trained in aspects of health & safety that other volunteers may not be as familiar with.
In 2018, we evolved further, by training our Leadership – of all departments, but especially the people formerly known as Dicks – in mitigation tactics; of harassment, but also learning to identify and diffuse potentially difficult situations before they become safety or harassment problems. But this is just good wingman training for anyone! Basically, we’re talking about learning organized bystander intervention mixed with better volunteer training. RollerCon has made huge strides in training our volunteers to be NICE – use amplification instead of yelling, say YES when they can, instead of defaulting to NO, and this is an extension of that concept, as well. Enough intro. Here’s the idea:
Lots more people need / want a wingman than are willing to ask; the hotline still isn’t busy but statistics claim that an intervening bystander can cut sexual assaults by as much as half. Add to that simple wingman jobs like handing someone who is physically depleted a granola bar or water and we’re looking at making RollerCon a lot safer and more enjoyable for a lot more people.
Identify Potential Developing Probs, some possibilities to look for:
- Heat exhaustion, physical depletion, alcohol or substance issues; do you see someone staggering? Looking pale or off balance? Slurring?
- Consent issues; is a person too drunk to consent? Are they so drunk they’re being touched, or touching / making other people uncomfortable?
- Misgendering or gender harassment at bathrooms, scrimmages or games
- Racist, sexist, homophobic “jokes” or other hateful speech
- Interrupt the behavior; sometimes you can just ask, “Are you okay?”
- Use humor (with care): “Hi, I’m the Fun Police here to remind you to drink water, too!”
- Publicly support the person (offer water, a walk somewhere safe, offer to call SkateSafe, etc)
- If you help someone get out of a situation, once you’re out, ask if they’re okay, do they want to sit down, etc
- Ask Y/N questions when possible:
- Do you want to tell me what happened?
- Are you feeling better?
- Can I help you find your friends?
- Do you need someone to walk you to your room (call SkateSafe hotline)
- Do you want to make a report to SkateSafe?
- Please also check out 10 Tips for De-Escalating Conflict by lifestrategies.ca
- For all leadership, staff and RollerCon attendees: please remind yourselves and your staff to read and understand our Code of Conduct. Its not super complicated and you might actually get a laugh out of it. It is, however, important.