Safer Spaces policy

At the DSA, we seek to build a culture founded upon mutual respect and a commitment to learning and growing as individuals and as a community.

As such, we have a Safer Spaces policy aimed at framing what we, as a community, believe is acceptable behaviour.

You can find a Word Document copy of our Safer Spaces policy here:

DSA Safer Spaces Policy


At the ANU Disabilities Student Association, we want to create a community where students with disability are free to be themselves without judgement or discrimination. We use the language of Safer Spaces because we believe that spaces are not safe simply because we designate them as such – it’s a goal that requires the constant and unceasing effort of the community. What this Policy is fundamentally about is treating one another with respect. When attending a DSA event, visiting the Spoons Space, or posting/commenting on our Facebook Group, it is expected that you will act in a respectful way towards each and every person you encounter.

Some Specifics

By entering our Safer Spaces, you agree to:

  • Respect people’s opinions, beliefs, and differing points of view
  • Respect the physical and emotional boundaries of others
    • This includes providing content warnings before discussing distressing topic
    • This includes refraining from discussing topics in a way that might promote risky or unsafe behaviours (e.g. methods of self-harm, drug-taking, suicide etc.)
  • Respect everyone’s right to live without intimidation, harassment, or discrimination
    • This includes not engaging in any behaviour that is ableist, racist, sexist,ageist, transphobic, homophobic, queerphobic or sizeist
  • Respect people’s right to privacy and self-determination
    • This includes not disclosing another person’s disability without their permission
  • Respect the Space by not consuming alcohol/substances or porn, or by having sex

This Policy is not an exhaustive list of every single thing people ought to do or not do. As such, there are going to be times when each of us make mistakes. These mistakes are opportunities to learn from each other, and grow as individuals and as a community. Below, you’ll find our dispute resolution procedure, and the moderation processes when the Policy is breached.

Dispute Resolution

Where you feel someone has done something that contravenes the Policy, you have a variety of options, including; approaching the person, removing yourself, or reporting a dispute.

1. Approach them, and explain why you feel their behaviour was unacceptable

If someone approaches you with the view that you’ve made a mistake, listen to them and try to understand how your actions may have affected them. Conversely, if you’re approaching someone who you think has made a mistake, try and presume that they did not intend to cause any harm or offence. Basically, have a discussion.

2. Remove yourself from the event, space or conversation

If you feel uncomfortable approaching the individual, or don’t have the energy to do so, you may decide to remove yourself from the event/space/conversation. If you’d like to attempt to approach the individual, but don’t feel comfortable doing so by yourself, you may ask the Officer or Deputies to accompany you.

3. Report the act to the Mediation Team

We encourage members to try and have a discussion where possible, but if that is not an option you may report the act to the Mediation Team – which includes the Disabilities Officer & Deputies. Include details of what the act was, who did it, and why you feel it was against the SSP. The Mediation Team will contact both parties, and make a determination.

Mediation & Enforcement

Either or these processes may occur upon referral from a DSA member, a Policy Explainer, or at the discretion of the Mediation Team.

Online Spaces – Facebook Group & Page

The DSA Facebook Group and Page are public spaces for open, intelligent, and respectful exchanges relating to disabilities. At the discretion of the Mediation Team, comments and posts considered to be breaching this Policy can be deleted without any prior warnings. The person who made the breaching comment/post will be informed that their comment/post has breached the Policy. Where the person ignores the direction of the Mediation Team, and continues to perform the breaching act, the individual may be banned or blocked from the Group & Page.

Physical Spaces – Spoons Space + DSA events

Where the Mediation Team are satisfied that an individual has breached the Policy, they will inform them that they have breached the Policy and ask them to cease the behaviour or acts that are in breach of the Policy. If the person continues to breach the policy, the Mediation Team may ask the member to leave the Spoons Space or DSA event. The Officer may contact ANU Security and request that they be removed, where they refuse to do so. The Officer may also ban the individual from attending DSA events or entering the Spoons Space, where a serious breach, or a series of continued breaches of the policy has occurred.