AHA Conference Conduct and Reporting Procedures

The AHA is committed to providing a welcome and inclusive conference environment for our members, collaborators, communities and friends. The AHA Executive expects participants and attendees of its annual conferences to uphold the Association’s Code of Ethics. We encourage people to contribute, and work to ensure no individuals dominate the conversation, with the aim of providing a conference environment where people feel comfortable asking questions, voicing their opinions, and becoming involved in the AHA community. In return, we expect participants be considerate, collegial, and respectful at all conference sessions and related social events.

We do not tolerate harassment or other unacceptable behaviour at conferences or associated social events in any form or under any circumstances. Harassment and unacceptable behaviour include offensive verbal comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, culture, ethnicity, or religion (or lack thereof). It also includes intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, showing a lack of respect for personal space, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.

Reporting Procedure at AHA Conferences

(i) Reporting harassment and unacceptable behaviour to the AHA

The AHA will establish a small team to provide resources for any participant in the annual conference who has experienced discrimination, bullying, or sexual harassment, or has concerns about violations of the AHA’s Code of Ethics. A member of this team can describe a reporting procedure and can outline the resources that are available (e.g. escort you to a room, call security, contact police) and provide support while you use these resources. At least two of these individuals will be available at any given time, 24/7 during the Annual Conference. The contact information of these individuals will be made available in registration materials and on-site at the conference.

The AHA will ensure members of this Team undergo relevant training. Members of this Team are not empowered to investigate claims and acts primarily to provide information about and access to available resources. Neither the Team nor any other member of the AHA Executive can provide legal advice to individuals who make reports under this policy. Any person who has experienced a serious verbal threat or any physical assault should contact the police immediately.

Specific details of this team, including photo, email, and mobile phone number, will be made available for each annual conference. The Team will include:

  • Conference Co-Convenor
  • Conference Co-Convenor
  • AHA President
  • AHA Early Career Representative
  • AHA Postgraduate Representative
  • LGBT+ Ally
  • Disability Ally

Once contacted, a member of this team might seek additional support or advice from the AHA Executive with the permission of the complainant.

* If the harasser is a member of the AHA Executive, please contact a different AHA member of this team, or the conference convenors.

(i) Anonymous Reporting

The AHA understands that some individuals would prefer to make anonymous complaints to the Association. Please contact the AHA in writing:
President (only)
The Australian Historical Association
PO Box 1118
Dickson ACT 2602

Alternatively, please submit an anonymous complaint to the AHA online via talktospot.com/.

Sexual assault can be anonymously reported via the South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault & Family Violence. The data you provide will be passed on to police across Australia with any information that identifies you removed.

Unacceptable AHA and AHA Conference Conduct as defined by the Australian Human Rights Commission:

  1. Discrimination

Discrimination is treating, or proposing to treat, someone unfavourably because of a personal characteristic protected by the law, such as sex, age, culture or disability.
Discrimination can occur:

Directly, when a person or group is treated less favourably than another person or group in a similar situation because of a personal characteristic protected by law (see list below).
For example, a member is harassed and humiliated because of their race

Indirectly, when an unreasonable requirement, condition or practice is imposed that has, or is likely to have, the effect of disadvantaging people with a personal characteristic protected by law (see list below).

Protected personal characteristics under Federal discrimination law include:

  • a disability, disease or injury
  • parental status or status as a carer, for example, because they are responsible for caring for children or other family members
  • culture, colour, descent, national origin, or ethnic background
  • age, whether young or old, or because of age in general
  • sex
  • religion
  • pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • sexual orientation, intersex status or gender identity, including gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, queer and heterosexual
  • marital status, whether married, divorced, unmarried or in a de facto relationship or same sex relationship
  • political opinion
  • social origin
  • medical record
  • an association with someone who has, or is assumed to have, one of these characteristics, such as being the parent of a child with a disability.

It is also against the law to treat someone unfavourably because you assume they have a personal characteristic or may have it at some time in the future.

2. Bullying

If someone is being bullied because of a personal characteristic protected by equal opportunity law, it is a form of discrimination.
Bullying can take many forms, including jokes, teasing, nicknames, emails, pictures, text messages, social isolation or ignoring people, or unfair work practices.
Under Federal law, this behaviour does not have to be repeated to be discrimination – it may be a one-off event.
Behaviours that may constitute bullying include:

  • sarcasm and other forms of demeaning language
  • verbal abuse, eg. threats, abuse or shouting
  • coercion
  • exclusion and isolation of individuals or groups from group activities
  • inappropriate blaming
  • ganging up
  • constant unconstructive criticism
  • intimidation
  • use of power or seniority over others

Bullying is unacceptable in the Australian Historical Association.

3. Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a specific and serious form of harassment. It is unwelcome sexual behaviour, which could be expected to make a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. Sexual harassment can be physical, spoken or written. It can include:

  • comments about a person’s private life or the way they look
  • sexually suggestive behaviour, such as leering or staring
  • brushing up against someone, touching, fondling or hugging
  • sexually suggestive comments or jokes
  • displaying offensive photos or objects
  • repeated unwanted requests to go out
  • repeated unwanted requests for private contact details
  • requests for sex
  • sexually explicit posts on social networking sites
  • insults or taunts of a sexual nature
  • intrusive questions or statements about a person’s private life
  • sending sexually explicit emails or text messages
  • inappropriate advances on social networking sites
  • accessing sexually explicit internet sites
  • behaviour that may also be considered to be an offence under criminal law, such as physical assault, indecent exposure, sexual assault, stalking or obscene communications.

Just because someone does not object to inappropriate behaviour in the workplace at the time, it does not mean that they are consenting to the behaviour.
Sexual harassment is covered in the workplace when it happens at work, at work-related events, between people sharing the same workplace, or between colleagues outside of work.
All members have the same rights and responsibilities in relation to sexual harassment.
A single incident is enough to constitute sexual harassment – it doesn’t have to be repeated.
All incidents of sexual harassment – no matter how large or small or who is involved – require the Association to respond quickly and appropriately.
The Australian Historical Association recognises that comments and behaviour that do not offend one person can offend another. This policy requires all staff and volunteers to respect other people’s limits.

4. Victimisation

Victimisation is subjecting or threatening to subject someone to a detriment because they have asserted their rights under equal opportunity law, made a complaint, helped someone else make a complaint, or refused to do something because it would be discrimination, sexual harassment or victimisation. Victimisation is against the law.
It is also victimisation to threaten someone (such as a witness) who may be involved in investigating an equal opportunity concern or complaint.
Victimisation is a very serious breach of this policy and is likely (depending on the severity and circumstances) to result in formal discipline against the perpetrator. The Australian Historical Association has a zero tolerance approach to victimisation.

5. Gossip

It is unacceptable for members of the Australian Historical Association to talk with other members about any complaint of discrimination or harassment.
Breaching the confidentiality of a formal complaint investigation or inappropriately disclosing personal information obtained in a professional role (for example, as a member of the Executive) is a serious breach of this policy and may lead to formal discipline.

6. Sexual Assault

Sexual assault includes various forms of forced sexual violence, such as groping, indecent assault, verbal abuse of a sexual nature, and rape, including attempted and threatened rape. Sexual assault is a crime.

Acknowledgement: Australian Human Rights Commission, Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Policy Template (2014).