|Consider putting into practice the following tips as they will help you in responding to disruptive person or where someone is being verbally harassed:
- Always be aware of your surroundings. Allow yourself and a disruptive person clear access to an exit point. Never trap people.
- Learn your “safety protocols” and how you could ask a colleague/neighbour for help discretely. Develop a “code” or “signal” that might be used to say “Call 911” or “Call Security” without having to be explicit in front of an angry person.
- If you anticipate a disruptive situation, tell others. This empowers them to assist you if you need to call for help.
When Confronted by Disruptive Person:
- Remain calm and be professional. Do not reflect the individual’s behaviour. Take a deep-breath before trying to help.
- Acknowledge their feelings and concerns and empathize with the person. Show this in demonstrating Active Listening and the words that you respond with.
- Sometimes a person will verbally act out if an audience is present. Ensure that you make the discussion private but never seclude from help, should the person continue to escalate. Never trap angry people or yourself in a space.
- If a disruptive person is more responsive to another person, let that person handle the confrontation. Do not construe this as a negative reflection of your mediation skills. The person acting out may associate you with a negative aspect that has occurred in their life unknown to you.
- If the disruptive person wants to speak with a Supervisor, comply with the request. Never deny an individual the opportunity to take the matter to a higher authority.
- If the individual becomes threatening or abusive, tell the individual that their behaviour is unacceptable and that it must stop immediately.
- Document such incidents, even if you’re successful in de-escalating. If you’ve had a problem with an individual it is likely that other University departments have too. By reporting such incidents to the University, you enable us all to enact protocols to ensure the safety of the Community remains top-priority.
If the situation escalates further:
- Put as much distance between yourself and the other person. If safe to do so, remove yourself from the situation and call 911; OR
- Ask someone else to make the call to 911 for you. (Ensure you know your “safety planning” and “codes” to do so discretely ahead of time).
- Follow-up your call to 911 with a call to York Security Services at ext 33333 or 416-736-5333.