BFI launch new anti-bullying and harassment principles

14 Feb 2018

5 mins
BFI Film Forever logo
BFI Film Forever logo

The first Set of Principles and Guidance to tackle bullying and harassment specifically tailored to the screen industries has been published today, in response to the urgent and systemic issues within the film industry that have come to light over recent months.

Galvanised by a determination to eradicate bullying and harassment and support victims more effectively, the guidance has been developed by the British Film Institute (BFI) in partnership with BAFTA, and in consultation with organisations including guilds, unions, industry member bodies and key agencies, as well as employees and freelancers across all roles. From April, a new Film and TV Support Line from the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund will be set up, free of charge for anyone working in the film and television industry.

Into Film CEO Paul Reeve is one of many industry thought-leaders to lend support to the initiative, highlighting the importance of the principles in the realm education: "Anti-bullying is an issue as pertinent and pressing for schools and young people as it is for the film industry. As a film education organisation, Into Film has been involved for several years in educating children and young people on issues around bullying and harassment; using carefully chosen films, for instance, to stimulate discussion about the nature and impact of unacceptable behaviour. There is a real opportunity for us to make links between that work and the new Principles and Guidance. This can enrich young people's knowledge and understanding, which will help strengthen the work of both the film industry and the education sector in tackling bullying and harassment, and establishing a positive culture of respect."

The set of eight principles cover a shared responsibility to respect others, adopt a zero tolerance approach to bullying and harassment, adhere to the laws around equality and health and safety, protect victims and witnesses, respect confidentiality, ensure that rigorous processes are in place for reporting and underline the value of exclusivity. The Principles and Guidance will be incorporated into the BFI's Diversity Standards, promoting inclusion and representation across the industry, and are available for download here. BAFTA previously announced that the Diversity Standards will become part of the eligibility criteria for the British categories at the British Academy Film and Television Awards (BAFTAs) in 2019.

Emma Watson @ The BFI
Emma Watson launches the BFI's Set of Principles and Guidance

The Guidance will be reviewed every six months to ensure it is fit for purpose and is positively addressing the needs of the industry. The Principles and Guidance will also be embedded into the BFI Diversity Standards a guide to improving inclusion and representation on and off-screen which the industry are strongly encouraged to adopt. BFI-funded initiatives and activities have to commit to the Diversity Standards and have become an exemplar for UK film securing commitment from BAFTA, Film4 and BBC Films across their film activities. Inclusion and representation is central to the BFI's strategic priorities and BFI2022, its five year plan for UK film, which is underpinned by new Diversity Targets for BFI funding awards and its internal staffing, which will formally be in place from April 2018.

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