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Supporting Survivors on Set

Creating safe sets cannot wait, and this includes prioritizing the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of survivors and Silence Breakers. Hiring survivors and Silence Breakers is an essential step in remaking Hollywood to be equitable for all. However, it is essential that the work environments you bring survivors into are safe, trauma informed, and equitable.

The industry tolerates bad behavior by powerful people. Producers, actors, and above the line individuals are rarely held accountable for tyrannical behavior. A production works at the whims of those in power, and those below the line have very little recourse to complain or to have their complaints addressed. I have seen people relocated, fired or pushed out rather than have the powerful aggressor censured.
Anonymous Hollywood Commission Survey Respondent
Intimacy Coordinator on set with two actors

It is essential to make it known that your project, company, production, etc is committed to hiring survivors and creating a safe and equitable work environment for all. At no point is it appropriate to require any self identifying survivor to disclose the details or nature of their abuse, including (but not limited to) details about who abused them, when, or how. It is essential that everyone involved is trauma informed, and respectful at every point in the hiring process.

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Here are some quantifiable steps you can take to ensure you’re creating a safe set. Hire Survivors Hollywood can assist with these steps, or connect you to the people and resources you might need to complete them.

Tips For A Safer Set

  • Hire trauma trainers/educators to train all cast, crew, office staff, etc. in trauma informed practices prior to production beginning and at regular intervals for both new hires and current staff. This allows for “power with” – not “power over” – dynamics (a concept introduced to HSH by Louise Godbold) in which survivors have autonomy and safety and allows for common agreements to be reached amongst all co-workers. It also creates clear guidelines and reduces opportunities for abuse.
  • Update your sexual harassment trainings to be trauma informed and survivor focused. Ensure that there are independent, confidential ways for any person to report any type of abuse or safety issue in the workplace.
  • Hire intimacy coordinators for nude, intimate, hyper-exposed work. Intimacy coordinators should be hired for all forms of intimacy (sexual, familial, fraternal) and should also be utilized in post-production.
  • Have an on set therapist/mental health professional available to help those who may become triggered from sensitive subjects that the stakeholder’s project/production may be dealing with.
  • Have a “safe zone” in your post-production spaces for people to go to for rest, decompression, or taking a few moments to deal with a trigger or activation that may come up. Have a “safe zone” on set for people to go to for rest, decompression, or taking a few moments to deal with a trigger or activation that may come up. If safe zones are not practicable for any reason – build breaks into the schedule for all cast and crew after working on any hyper-exposed, intimate, or potentially traumatizing material. Build in regular breaks for all cast and crew in general throughout the day to ensure the physical and mental safety of all.
The fight to achieve gender equality in Hollywood is also the fight to end gender-based violence and harassment in Hollywood. We have to go beyond improving the numbers of women hired on a production, and examine what we are all doing to ensure those workplaces are free of harassment.
Andria Wilson Mirza
Director, ReFrame

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