Statement of Intent
We love dancing. Every dancer, of every level of experience, should feel absolutely comfortable and safe at any of our events.
Harassment or bullying won’t be tolerated and by attending any of our events in any capacity (whether you are an international teacher, a DJ or a first time dancer) you agree to treat all participants with care and respect and to abide by our code of conduct. We want every person to feel comfortable at any of our events and we hope that this document plays a role in fostering a safe and comfortable place to dance. We believe that we have one of the safest communities in the world but we don’t know everyone and, in a big community like the London swing scene, we may unfortunately get people who behave badly.
Code of Conduct
1. There’s room for all of us on the dancefloor
We welcome all dancers and music lovers regardless of gender/gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, religion or employment status. We encourage all dancers to have the choice of leading, following or both. The choice is completely left up to the individual. You may want to clarify with someone which role they would like to take when you ask them to dance as many dancers enjoy both leading and following and would be happy to take either role.
2. Respect others
Be respectful, don’t be inappropriate. Do not use sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist or racist language. Remember that no means no. We hope that this will be common sense to most of our dancers.
3. Look out for each other and your community
Look out for each other. We are a big family and let’s ensure we love every step we take while at the same time looking out for those around us. If you feel harassed or are made to feel uncomfortable please contact the event manager immediately. The person at the front door will point you in the right direction. If you see someone who looks uncomfortable or upset, ask if they are ok and if they would like you to report any unwanted behavior to the event manager on their behalf. If you harass someone, you may be asked to leave. You may also be banned from other events and the police may be notified at our discretion and as guided by the complainant.
4. Your personal boundaries are paramount
Always respect personal boundaries. Partner dancing can involve close contact with others and we must respect each others’ personal space. If someone tells you that you are making them feel uncomfortable, respect their requirement for space.
5. You can say no.
If someone asks you to dance and you don’t want to, you can say “no thank you” – you don’t need to offer an explanation. If you feel uncomfortable dancing with someone then you can stop dancing with them at any time, even halfway through a song.
6. Be ok with people saying no
If you ask someone to dance they say no, respect their decision and ask someone else. No one is obliged to dance with you, and no one should feel obliged to accept a dance if they don’t feel like it.
7. Play Safe
Keep your eyes open on the dance floor and try not to bump into others around you. Aerials, lifts and drops are great in a jam session or competition but should not be carried out on a social dance floor. Remember your partner may have an injury that you’re unaware of and even dipping a partner might hurt them. If your partner is hurting you unintentionally please take care of yourself and let them know.
If you are injured and require medical attention or if you feel unsafe or threatened and would like to make the organisers aware of inappropriate behaviour, visit the front desk and ask to speak to the manager.
If you would like to make a complaint or pursue a concern, please contact: Scott Cupit on [email protected]. If you would rather speak to a woman, please contact Sibhe Lynch on 07931 326 273 or [email protected]. If Scott or Sibhe consider the situation to be more serious than their experience can deal with, we will take appropriate action to refer the issue to appropriate professionals and act on their guidance.
The Equality Act of 2010 outlines the definition of sexual harassment under UK law.
We strongly encourage anyone who has experienced any sexual harassment to report it to the police. The official advice is to dial 999. You can also report a crime online at any time via the Met’s website in London and West Sussex police in Brighton and it can be at any time after the offence has happened. We will also anonymously report any incidents we consider to have broken the law to Crimestoppers as recommended to us by the London Metropolitan police.
If you would like impartial advice, we recommend contacting a group such as The Havens who can advise you anonymously. The national helpline (0808 802 9999) for Rape Crisis England & Wales is open twice a day, everyday, though it can sometimes be difficult to get through. The team at Good Night Out have provided us a link to resources you might find useful and you can access them here.
Thanks for reading this far, it shows us that you take these issues seriously. Our teachers have spent a long time discussing these issues as a team and it’s a continual learning curve for us. We will happily listen to any suggestions you have so we can continually improve and monitor this part of our community. We love our big crazy swing family and nothing is more important to us than ensuring our dancers feel safe and can love their dancing and the community of incredible people.
The Swing Patrol London team