Safer Spaces Policy

An angry-looking cat with its eyes closed meowing 'ROLLER DERBY' with B-TOWN over itB-Town Brawlers Roller Derby wants to conduct all of its activities in a safe anti-oppressive space that is welcoming, engaging and supportive.

In order to ensure this we feel it is necessary to establish some guidelines for participants, which include skating and non-skating participants. These have been agreed by all members of B-Town Brawlers Roller Derby as of 24th January 2015.

  1. Racism, ageism, homophobia, cissexism, sexism, transphobia, ableism, body-shaming, slut-shaming or prejudice based on ethnicity, nationality, class, gender, gender presentation, language ability, mental health status, work habits including sex workers, asylum status or religious affiliation is unacceptable and will be challenged.
  2. All sensitive information discussed in any organised event is confidential unless otherwise stated, or if it is felt that a person is at risk of putting themselves or others in danger.
  3. Respect each other’s physical boundaries. It is understood that roller derby is a contact sport, and it is impossible to play or train for the sport itself without physical contact. Unless participating in any skating, or off-skates activity that requires physical contact, always get explicit verbal consent before touching someone or crossing boundaries.
  4. We recognise that physical contact may be difficult or triggering for some members. We will endeavour to include trust exercises on a regular basis, and if a member states ‘stop touching me’ at any point during any exercise or drill, all members must cease physical contact immediately. We would like all members to feel as safe as possible at all times, and are open to suggestions on how to improve this.
  5. Be aware of the space you take up and the positions and privileges you bring, including racial, class and gender privilege.
  6. Avoid assuming the opinions and identifications of other participants. It is recognised that pronoun use and names of league members may differ between training/social sessions. Therefore at the beginning of any official league training session, it is advised that preferred pronouns and names are shared with the group.
  7. Recognize that we try not to judge or put each other down. We want to foster a positive and supportive environment where we avoid dismissive or shaming language, even if said in jest.
  8. Be aware of the language you use and how you relate to others. Try to speak slowly and clearly and use uncomplicated language.
  9. The group endeavors as much as is feasible to ensure that meeting spaces are as accessible as possible to the widest range of people.
  10. Give each person the time and space to speak.
  11. “Respect the person; challenge their behaviour.” Whilst a person’s behaviour may be problematic, everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and their behaviour does not negate that fact.
  12. If someone violates these agreements a discussion or mediation process can happen, depending on the wishes of the person who was affected by this violation. If a serious violation happens to the extent that someone feels unsafe, the person who violated the policy can be asked to leave the space and/or speak with a person or process nominated by those present.
  13. Whilst ground rules are collective responsibility everyone is also personally responsible for their own behaviour.
  14. Everyone has the right to participate or not participate as they feel is right for them without being made to feel bad for their level of input. This includes any organised event, including meetings, social gatherings, training and bouts. Individual levels of participation will not be deemed to be reflective of someone’s commitment to the league, and this includes both skating and non-skating roles.
  15. Everyone has the right to sit out of any activity at any time for any reason. Hand signals will be used to communicate: thumbs-up for ‘I am fine and would like to be alone’, thumbs-middle for ‘I am okay but I would like someone to be here as soon as possible’, and thumbs-down for ‘I need help ASAP’. These will be changed to their BSL equivalents on the formation of a committee, so that we can all learn them.
  16. If, while skating or exercising, a member feels unwell, in pain, or unable to continue, we will not encourage them to continue. This is especially important for those wearing restrictive items such as binders, or for those on heavy medication, with chronic illnesses or living with addiction. Those who choose to continue through injury or illness will not be held in a high regard above other members, as we believe this can foster a feeling that one should continue skating or exercising through injury or illness.
  17. If, at any point, a skater feels they are acting in a way that could be harmful to others, whether that be through exhaustion, medication side-effects, or intoxication due to compulsion or addiction, they should remove themselves immediately from all skating activity that could be harmful to others. The physical safety of all participators is a top priority, and if a person shows themselves to be dangerous to others, they may be asked to remove themselves from the activity by a member of the coaching team.