Anti-Harassment Policy
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Anti-Harassment Policy

The Whitsunday Anglican School hosts the Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival in July each year, and invites between 13 and 15 of Australia’s leading children’s and young adult authors to Mackay to present to students from over 65 schools from the region.

The Whitsunday Anglican School, under the auspices of Whitsunday Voices, is dedicated to assuring that the Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival is free of all forms of harassment, intimidation and discrimination on the basis of race, age, sex, gender, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, disability, medical condition, religion, sexual orientation, marital/domestic partnership status, or citizenship.
 
The Whitsunday Anglican School’s policy on student protection is applicable to protecting students from any form of harassment and can be found here.
 
The Whitsunday Anglican School’s Community Code of Conduct is a policy that sets out that the Whitsunday Anglican School expects all members of its community to maintain high standards of relationships as they conduct or pursue School related business and activity, and can be found here.
 
This Anti-Harassment Policy is applicable to all other participants in the Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival, including the presenters, parent volunteers, visiting educators, and other guests of the Festival.
 
This Policy is procedurally separate and distinct from other Whitsunday Anglican School policies.
 
Definitions
 
According to this Policy, sexual harassment includes (1) unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other physical, verbal or written conduct of a sexual nature, and (2) creating an intimidating, hostile, or sexually offensive environment. Sexual harassment can occur in many formats, including in-person, online and via SMS. Sexual harassment may occur in hierarchical relationships or between peers, and between persons of the same sex or opposite sex.
 
A hostile environment can be created by, among other things, unwanted jokes, gestures, and unwelcome comments and remarks; touching and any other bodily contact such as scratching, rubbing, or patting a person’s back, backside, or chest, grabbing another person around the waist, or deliberately interfering with a person’s ability to move, or written conduct referring to same; repeated requests for dates or sex that are turned down, or other unwanted flirting, and transmitting or posting emails or pictures of a sexual or other harassment-related nature.
 
Discrimination or harassment that is based on race, age, sex, gender, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, disability, medical condition, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, marital/domestic partnership status, or citizenship, is also prohibited by this Policy.
 
This Policy is implicated when the harassment, intimidation or discrimination is sufficiently severe or pervasive to deny or limit a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival. It is not necessary that the harassment, intimidation or discrimination have been directed specifically at any complaining party.
 
Free Speech and Artistic Freedom
 
Most participants in the Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival are supporters of creative expression, promoting literacy and the principle of freedom of speech. However, freedom of speech and artistic and creative freedom are not limitless. Whitsunday Voices will not support speech or expressive conduct that violates Australian Law or Whitsunday Voices’ adopted policies.
 
The purpose of this Policy is intended to discourage harassment, intimidation and discrimination at the Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival. Therefore, this Policy shall be implemented in a manner that recognizes the importance of the freedom of speech and expression: no provision of this Policy shall be interpreted to prohibit conduct that is legitimately related to fiction, teaching methods, or the educational, political, artistic, or literary expression of participants in fiction.
 
A “reasonable person test” will apply when considering harassment complaints which could be deemed to be a violation of a person’s freedom of speech.
 
Reporting Procedures
 
As a first step, the person that believes that there has been a violation of this Policy should talk calmly with the individual engaging in the offensive behaviour, and tell him or her that his or her behaviour has been found to be inappropriate and to request that it cease.
 
If such behaviour does not immediately cease, or if direct communication is insufficient or uncomfortable, the behaviour may be reported to the Festival Manager. Such report should include the substance of the complaint, date(s), a list of witnesses and/or, when appropriate, reference URLs. The complaint may also request assistance from Whitsunday Voices.
 
Non-Retaliation
 
This Policy prohibits retaliation against any complainant for reporting harassment, intimidation or discrimination and for participating in an investigation relating to same. The sanctions for Retaliation are the same sanctions available to address any other violation of this Policy.
 
False Allegations
 
It is a violation of this Policy for any complainant to knowingly or with reckless disregard for the truth make a false claim of harassment, intimidation or discrimination. Failure to prove a claim of unlawful harassment is not, by itself, equivalent to a false claim.
 
Sanctions for Violation of Policy
 
Harassment, intimidation and discrimination in violation of this Policy is materially and seriously prejudicial to the interests of Whitsunday Voices. When it has been determined that a violation of this Policy has occurred, the Whitsunday Anglican School Board will determine, in their sole discretion, the appropriate sanction.
 
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Whitsunday Anglican School Principal may take any temporary action appropriate to protect the purposes and interests of Whitsunday Voices, including warning or alerting the offending party as to the nature of the offense, removal of either the complainant and/or the accused harasser from the Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival activities, where the harassment or discriminatory conduct occurred, or otherwise diffusing the situation to protect both the participants from further harm or unpleasantness. Should such action be taken, a detailed report of the incident should be submitted to the rest of the Whitsunday Anglican School Board so it can consider taking further action in the matter.
 
Should conduct believed to be in violation of this Policy occur at a Festival venue, a Whitsunday Voices representative or volunteer in charge of the venue at the time of the conduct may take reasonable action to stop the apparent harassment and ensure the safety of persons at the event. Reasonable action may include, but not be limited to, verbal notification to the individual that the behaviour believed to be in violation of this Policy should be discontinued immediately, and/or removal of the individual from the immediate area. If action is taken, the person taking the action shall deliver a written report on the incident (including a detailed narrative of the incident and the names of all persons involved and of any witnesses) to the Whitsunday Anglican School Principal, who shall submit the report to the Board so it can consider taking further action in the matter.
 
The Whitsunday Anglican School Board is responsible for the implementation of this Policy and the administration of the associated procedures. Upon receiving a report of a violation of this Policy, the Whitsunday Anglican School Principal, shall provide formal notice of such conduct to the Board. As supplements or alternatives to the sanctions of suspension or expulsion, the Board may also take one or more of the following non-exclusive actions:
  • Warning one or more parties involved that specified behaviour is inappropriate
  • Requiring a formal apology on behalf of the complainant(s)
  • Removing access to the Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival on a temporary or permanent basis
  • Barring a future participation in the Festival
  • Recovering costs where the Festival suffers financial losses as a result of the harassment incident
  • Reporting the incident to appropriate authorities.
Confidentiality
 
The Whitsunday Anglican School Board will make every reasonable effort to conduct all investigations into allegations of harassment, intimidation or discrimination in a manner that will protect the confidentiality of all parties. Notwithstanding the above, confidentiality is not absolute, and those with a legitimate business reason to know and to be informed of the allegations will be so informed. Parties to the complaint should treat the matter under investigation with discretion and respect for the reputation of all parties involved.