“With better information about sexual violence comes the opportunity to know which programs, policies, and practices have the most impact on prevention efforts; knowledge that brings us closer to our common goal of a future built on safety and respect.”
Karen Baker, Chief Executive Officer
National Sexual Violence Resource Center
Threats of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and sexual assault influence the daily choices of people around the world. Understanding the impact of these threats is important to the wellbeing of any company, and critical for any company that wants to develop an effective response. Accurately classifying and counting incidents of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and sexual assault in order to yield useful data is a task complicated by numerous factors, including language, culture, history, gender, age, employee training, and business model. The same factors influence a company’s ability to communicate with consumers about these threats in ways that are accurate, helpful, and believable.
Ultimately, transparency and consistency are the most effective ways to deal with these complicating factors, and standardization is the most effective way to confer industry-wide benefits to a set of threats that universally influences people, companies, communities, and their choices.
To help achieve transparency and consistency in corporate reporting processes, in late 2017 the National Sexual Violence Resource Center and researchers from the Urban Institute worked with Uber Technologies to develop a Sexual Misconduct and Violence Taxonomy to consistently classify these types of incidents. This taxonomy is, to our knowledge, a first of its kind and a unique example of a categorization system designed for a customer-service purpose using current best practices in sexual violence research.
We believe the taxonomy can provide a foundation for the standardization of data collection and reporting in the travel industry and beyond. The taxonomy provides an opportunity for companies to actively participate in real change in the communities they employ and serve by gathering data about problems they all face in the same way. By doing so, they are contributing to a common framework for solutions that address sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and sexual assault.
Last week the NSVRC released a Taxonomy and Transparency Workshop Update which is a follow-up to a Taxonomy & Transparency Workshop hosted in San Francisco in early 2019 by Uber for representatives of a variety of companies. NSVRC shared this information to impart lessons learned by Uber from implementing the taxonomy. It includes two parts that are necessary for implementing the taxonomy in a corporate context at scale:
Why a scaled classification audit function is crucial to ensuring accurate, repeatable external reporting of safety incident data based on strong internal alignment on the definition of taxonomy terms.
Training examples similar to those in use by Uber teams to classify incidents based on the Sexual Misconduct and Violence Taxonomy.
The Sexual Misconduct and Violence Taxonomy began a new era for NSVRC’s work with corporations on transparency, and the Workshop Update is our next step in that work. We are committed to supporting the implementation, use, and ongoing development of the taxonomy by any organization that may benefit. To learn more about the taxonomy and how NSVRC can help your organization use it effectively, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our growing collection of resources developed through our Corporate Transparency Resources Project.