How it works!
What happens when you call or e-mail?
You will get one of us on the line, or a response to your e-mail, as soon as possible. The maximum response time is one working day, but we try to respond within a few hours. Then it’s up to you: we can call or e-mail, even outside of office hours, and if you wish, we will make an appointment to meet in person. The latter therefore takes place in consultation with you. We can of course ensure that we aren’t seen together in a public place.
We provide a ‘tailor-made’ solution to each report we receive. We can either simply listen, or discuss with you what to expect when opting for a particular solution. This means our work isn’t fixed, but to give you an idea, we can list a few options:
Simply giving you the opportunity to tell your story, work out what’s happened.
We take all the time you need, listen and ask questions. Then we can discuss possible solutions if you wish. You may then feel able to take the next step yourself. We remain available in the background at all times.
Is there an (internal and/or external) confidential advisor working on behalf of the organisation you’re reporting on?
Our first port of call will be to see whether the solution can be found within the organisation you’re reporting on. If that isn’t possible, we will get to work on your behalf.
Talking with the ‘causer’.
You may want to talk to the person who is responsible for the undesirable behaviour. We can prepare for this with you and if you don’t want to talk to them alone, we can go with you. Mediation is another option. We can help to bring about such a process. We will never personally adopt the role of mediator; we will continue to act primarily as a supporter for you.
The formal complaint.
If what’s happened is serious, or if you’ve tried everything, you can lodge a formal complaint with the organisation in question. A complaint process may be drastic and taxing on you. We will provide support for as long as you want it and can also attend hearings with you by way of support. We can also discuss with you what to expect when lodging a complaint.
It’s important to note that when lodging a complaint, you won’t be faced with the person causing the undesirable behaviour! Those concerned will be spoken to separately when the complaint is being investigated.
Reporting to the police.
It is up to you to decide when something is a criminal offence. Once again, we are able to support you in a way you see fit. One of the options is to go to the police station with you.
Agreement and Protocol
Agreement on handling undesirable behaviour
Aim of the agreement
The aim of this agreement is to handle undesirable behaviour by stopping and preventing it and – where it is still occurring – recognising, acknowledging and tackling it.
This agreement is intended for everyone working in the workplace in the Dutch cultural and creative sector.
These sectors are characterised by a number of risk-aggravating factors, such as the fact that physical contact may be inherent to the work and the fact that work on set often carries on until late into the evening. There is also a significant amount of competition on the labour market and people are dependent on a small group of decision-makers if they are to gain employment.
In such circumstances, it isn’t just easy for undesirable behaviour to occur, but also for it to remain undiscussed and undisputed.
As a sector organisation and affiliated organisations, companies and professionals, we want to stop undesirable behaviour and make it a point for discussion. This is why we have drawn up this agreement. In this agreement, we state how we are going to handle undesirable behaviour and what we ourselves are doing, and what we expect from people in the workplace in this regard.
We are calling on other organisations, companies and professionals working in our sector, one of our sectors or in adjacent sectors to enter into this agreement. The effectiveness of the agreement will be regularly tested and amended if necessary based on experience.
Who is the agreement for?
This agreement isn’t just intended for those people working for our organisation/company, but also for third parties who find themselves/may find themselves in the workplace of the organisation/company.
In other words, the agreement applies to both those who have a direct employment relationship with our organisation/company – employees, freelancers/sole traders, work placement students or volunteers – and to third parties. By third parties, we mean all others who find themselves in the workplace, such as seconded personnel or personnel loaned from another company, such as an employment agency or payroll organisation.
The workers to whom the agreement applies on the basis of an employment relationship with the organisation/company are referred to below as ‘the employees’. Others are referred to as ‘third parties’.
What is undesirable behaviour?
By ‘undesirable behaviour’, we mean behaviours – regardless of whether or not there is a hierarchical difference in role or position between those concerned – resulting in psycho-social problems at work (excluding work-related stress) within the meaning of Article 3 paragraph 2 of the Dutch Working Conditions Act (Arbeidsomstandighedenwet), relating to:
- intimidation in the meaning of Article 1a paragraph 2 of the Dutch Equal Treatment of Men and Women Act (Wet gelijke behandeling van mannen en vrouwen) and Article 7:646 paragraph 7 of the Dutch Civil Code, in other words: behaviour associated with a person’s gender with the aim or result of harming a person’s dignity and creating a threatening, hostile, derogatory, humiliating or offensive environment;
- sexual intimidation in the meaning of Article 1a paragraph 3 of the Dutch Equal Treatment of Men and Women Act and Article 7:646 paragraph 8 of the Dutch Civil Code, in other words: any form of verbal, non-verbal or physical behaviour that has a sexual connotation, with the aim or result of harming a person’s dignity, especially when a threatening, hostile, derogatory, humiliating or offensive environment is created; Examples of sexual intimidation are: making innuendos, telling wild stories about sexual performance and crude jokes, unnecessary touching or obstructing of a person’s path, written contact that has a sexual connotation, showing indecent images in the workplace, assault and rape.
- bullying, in other words: all forms of intimidating behaviour that is regular in nature, by one or more employees (colleagues, line managers) against an employee or group of employees who is/are unable to defend themselves against this behaviour;
- aggression and use of violence, in other words: incidents where an employee is mentally or physically harassed, threatened or assaulted under circumstances directly related to carrying out work;
- discrimination, in other words: judgements, actions or decisions that are derogatory or humiliating due to discrimination on the grounds of: a physical or mental disability, race/appearance, origin, religion, political persuasion, age, marital status, chronic disease, gender, philosophy or sexual orientation.
Efforts made by the organisation/company
As sector organisations and organisations, companies and professionals forming part of these sectors, through this agreement we are pursuing an active policy focusing on the prevention of undesirable behaviour in the workplace.
This means that first of all, we must personally turn away from behaviour that can be interpreted as a form of undesirable behaviour. For a number of organisations/companies/producers, a procedure has already been set up for employees whereby an anonymous or non-anonymous report can be made to an independent confidential advisor or (at the decision of the person reporting the incident) an internal confidential advisor.
We will also make it possible to discuss problems, talk to perpetrators or potential perpetrators about their behaviour and ensure that victims are cared for. Should the situation arise, our organisation/company will take appropriate measures or impose sanctions in relation to those people who are guilty of undesirable behaviour.
In the context of this policy, we:
- provide an independent disclosure office manned by two independent, certified confidential advisors. These advisors are at the disposal of all employees and third parties in the workplace’, as well as the organisation/company itself. The confidential advisors are a point of contact in the event of undesirable behaviour that cannot be resolved in consultation with those concerned. The confidential advisors operate from an accessible, independent central disclosure office. See also the Protocol governing the disclosure office for undesirable behaviour.
- promote awareness of our policy against undesirable behaviour, not just via the website(s) < name of website(s) >, but also by bringing this policy to the express attention of all employees and third parties in the workplace, such as in the context of recruitment, job interviews, in contracts and contract discussions, staff meetings and in documents such as an in-house code of conduct and/or an employee handbook.
What’s expected from people in the workplace
We expect both employees and third parties to behave in an amicable and respectful manner with all others in the workplace and to avoid undesirable behaviour, regardless of whether hierarchical differences exist between them in terms of job or position. We also expect everyone present in the workplace to be alert to undesirable behaviour between other people in the workplace.
Anyone in the workplace can report undesirable behaviour. We expressly advise both victims and witnesses of undesirable behaviour in the workplace to discuss this behaviour in the manner stated below.
Discussing undesirable behaviour
If someone experiences or observes undesirable behaviour, in particular but not exclusively if he/she is a victim of that behaviour himself/herself, we advise initially discussing that behaviour with the person or people concerned himself/herself, preferably as soon as possible.
If you don’t dare to or are unable to do so, or if previous discussion with the person or people concerned hasn’t had the desired effect, we advise discussing this behaviour with the organisational manager responsible.
If you don’t dare to or are unable to do this either, or if previous discussion with the organisational manager responsible hasn’t had the desired effect, we advise the victim or the observer to contact one of the confidential advisors appointed by us, either via an accessible website, by e-mail, by telephone or by post.
Furthermore, it is always possible to submit a claim to the civil court.
The undersigned sector organisations and organisations/companies/producers and professionals subscribe to the aforementioned Agreement on Handling Undesirable Behaviour and declare that they will make all the necessary efforts to abide by this:
- Act Acteursbelangen
- Assistant Directors Club (ADC)
- De schrijverscentrale
- De Zaak Nu
- Dutch Academy For Film (DAFF)
- Dutch Directors Guild (DDG)
- EYE Filmmuseum
- FNV Media & Cultuur
- Fonds Podiumkunsten
- Groep Algemene Uitgevers
- International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)
- International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR)
- Nederlands Film Festival (NFF)
- Nederlands Film Fonds
- Nederlandse Agenten Associatie (NAA)
- Nederlandse Associatie voor Podiumkunsten (NAPK)
- Nederlandse Audiovisuele Producenten Alliantie (NAPA)
- Nederlandse Beroepsvereniging van Film- en televisiemakers (NBF)
- Nederlandse Content Producenten (NCP)
- Nederlandse Toonkunstenaarsbond (NTB)
- Nederlandse Vereniging van Bioscopen en Filmtheaters (NVBF)
- Nederlandse Vereniging van Cinema-Editors (NCE)
- Nederlandse Vereniging van Journalisten (NVJ)
- Netherlands Society of Cinematographers (NSC)
- Netwerk Scenarioschrijvers
- SAC KUO (verzamelde Hogescholen Kunstvakonderwijs)
- Verenigde Podiumkunstenfestivals
- Vereniging Constructief Audio (VCA)
- Vereniging Nederlandse Poppodia en -Festivals (VNPF)
- Vereniging van Nederlandse Orkesten (VvNO)
- Vereniging van Schouwburg- en Concertgebouwdirecties (VSCD)
- Vereniging Vrije Theater Producenten (VVTP)
- Werkgeversvereniging Nederlandse Podia (WNP)
Protocol governing the disclosure office for undesirable behaviour
May 2018 – De Vertrouwenspersoon
1. Basic principles
The protocol describes the way in which the central, collective disclosure office for undesirable behaviour in the Dutch cultural and creative sectors operates.
The aim of the disclosure office is to offer victims of undesirable behaviour a confidential, approachable, independent and easily accessible point of contact or sounding board. The disclosure office will act in accordance with that principle at all times.
The disclosure office is manned by experienced, certified confidential advisors. The confidential advisors are primarily on the side of the person reporting the incident and maintain that position, so the people reporting can be sure to receive support for as long as they want it. The confidential advisor offers the person reporting support in finding a solution. The confidential advisor won’t act as a mediator himself/herself, but is able to refer the person reporting to a third party who is able to fulfil this role if required. If a victim wishes to lodge a formal complaint, the confidential advisor will lend his/her support in this regard. He/she is able to provide further support to the victim during the course of the complaint investigation too.
‘Undesirable behaviour’ is understood to mean:
– sexual intimidation or sexual abuse;
– aggression and violence (including intimidation and abuse of power);
The disclosure office has three tasks:
– To care for and support people reporting incidents who have faced undesirable behaviour. This is the main task;
– To give solicited and unsolicited advice to the affiliated organisations when the findings of the disclosure office give cause to do so. It goes without saying that the level of confidentiality agreed with the people or person reporting is respected at all times;
– If required: to give information and advice, in whatever form.
An essential condition for the success of the disclosure office is the absolute guarantee of confidentiality. It’s important to realise that the person reporting isn’t required to do anything and must retain control over his or her report at all times. From that follows that having contact with the disclosure office must not have any consequences whatsoever for the person reporting and that no actions are taken by the disclosure office whatsoever if the person reporting doesn’t want that. This may seem obvious, but we have learnt from experience that this is not the experience of the people reporting. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to highlight the confidentiality guarantee in communication concerning the disclosure office. If this doesn’t explicitly happen, many potential reporters will presumably find the disclosure office too difficult to access.
The disclosure office will only depart from the basic principle of confidentiality in very exceptional cases. This only happens when a statutory provision forces the disclosure office to do so. In practice, this will only be the case when there’s an acute danger to minors that can only be removed by breaking the confidentiality.
The term ‘confidential’ shouldn’t be confused with ‘anonymous’. In the former case, the confidential advisor is aware of the identity of the person reporting, whereas that’s not the case for anonymous reporting. The disclosure office will receive anonymous requests for advice and reports. It must be noted here, however, that in certain cases it isn’t or is barely possible to take action as a result of an anonymous report.
If the confidential advisor draws attention to structural wrongs or stumbling blocks in the performance of his/her activities, he/she may bring these to the notice of the company/organisation without revealing the identity of the person/people reporting, unless such person/persons has stated that he/she/they have no objections to this.
The disclosure office will record the messages. A report is published from time to time concerning the number and nature of reports received per sector. This enables the sector to maintain an overview of risky situations and if necessary, intervene in order to remove those situations. It goes without saying that the reports are formulated in such a way that they absolutely cannot be traced back to individual reporters.
2. Operating procedure
The disclosure office is manned by a number of permanent confidential advisors, a mixed team with various backgrounds. The person reporting may decide for himself/herself with whom he/she wishes to speak. Both confidential advisors have a qualified deputy, so there is always someone available to talk to those people reporting.
The disclosure office makes separate telephone numbers and e-mail addresses available to both confidential advisors. The response time is no more than 24 hours or one working day. The aim, anyway, is to be able to speak to people reporting an incident within a few hours. Contact, when the person reporting requires it, is by appointment, including outside of normal office hours. Contact can be made by e-mail, telephone or in person.
The objective formulated by the sector is to provide ‘tailor-made’ advice to all incidents reported. The way in which the disclosure office operates largely depends on the wishes of the person reporting, who retains control of the report at all times. Nevertheless, in relation to the way in which reports can be handled, a distinction can generally be made between four different ‘stages’. It must be highlighted that these stages don’t need to be followed in the order described. What’s more, if a particular stage hasn’t proved successful, a subsequent stage can be chosen. It is the person reporting who determines this.
In all cases, the confidential advisor will do everything he/she can to assist the person reporting if required. The confidential advisor isn’t so much an ‘advisor’, but rather a ‘scenario sketcher’; the confidential advisor can discuss with the person reporting what to expect if they opt for a particular solution.
Stage 1: Giving the opportunity to tell the story, working out what’s happened, brainstorming.
We know from experience that many people reporting don’t require more than simply the opportunity to discuss their own experience in a calm environment. The confidential advisor takes all the time the person needs, listens and by asking questions, is able to work with the person reporting to work out exactly what’s happened. When the person reporting requires it, we can then look for possible solutions. In many cases, after one or two discussions of this type, the person reporting will feel able to take the next step himself/herself, such as by talking to the person who caused the incident. The confidential advisor will continue to be available in the background. The people reporting find this a great help.
Stage 2: Informal resolution
In many cases, the person reporting the incident will need to talk to the person who caused the incident to make the undesirable behaviour stop. It is important to be aware that the person who caused the incident won’t always be aware of the way in which his/her behaviour comes across. By talking about it, the person causing the behaviour will be given the opportunity to realise that and modify his/her own behaviour. The confidential advisor can help to arrange the meeting. And if the person reporting doesn’t feel able to conduct the meeting alone, the confidential advisor can go along for support if required.
In some cases, a somewhat more definite procedure is desirable and mediation may be the chosen option. The confidential advisor can be helpful when it comes to realising a mediation process. Furthermore, the confidential advisor, as already mentioned, will never assume the role of mediator himself/herself, but will remain available as a support to the person reporting the incident.
Stage 3: The formal complaint
If the person reporting so wishes, such as if the informal process hasn’t led to a result or solutions or if the severity of what’s happened gives direct cause to do so, you may decide to lodge a formal complaint. Organisations are required to provide a safe working environment, which means that they must handle or investigate formal complaints about undesirable behaviour carefully.
Lodging a complaint and undergoing a complaints procedure is drastic and taxing for the people reporting. The confidential advisor will support the person reporting during the process if required, such as by attending hearings or meetings with them. The confidential advisor may also discuss with the person reporting what he/she may reasonably expect from submitting a complaint.
Stage 4: Reporting to the police.
You may decide when something is a criminal offence. Once again, the confidential advisor will be able to provide support in a manner required by the person reporting. One of the options is to go to the police station with you.
3. Confidentiality and privacy
The disclosure office, the confidential advisors and others involved in the work under the responsibility of the disclosure office and the De Vertouwenspersoon office are obviously required to maintain the confidentiality of all the information they receive, except in exceptional cases in which a statutory provision stipulates to the contrary. Information is only shared with others if the person reporting the incident explicitly agrees to this. This obligation shall continue to apply once the work has been completed. The privacy legislation currently in force applies to all work, including recording and file formation.
All files will be permanently destroyed after three years, however the disclosure office will retain an anonymised record of past case histories that cannot be traced back to the people reporting the incidents.
Personal details and contact details of those reporting (such as telephone numbers, e-mail addresses etc.) will be immediately and permanently destroyed once the report has been concluded, but also at the initial request of the person reporting.
The disclosure office won’t make any attempts to discover the identity of anonymous reporters, other than by asking them to disclose their identity without obligation. The disclosure office does not possess technical facilities that would allow it to discover the identity of people reporting on the basis of IP addresses, telephone numbers etc.
In consultation with the person reporting, personal discussions are conducted in neutral locations. If the situation so requires, the confidential advisors ensure that they aren’t seen together in public with the person reporting the incident.
Careful handling of case histories is rarely or never assisted by premature reporting in the press. In principle, the confidential advisors will never respond to requests for information from the press in relation to an individual’s case history. An exception may only be made to this rule if the person reporting the incident explicitly agrees and the interests of others are not unreasonably harmed.