Reporting a conduct problem
If you feel that another participant has breached our conduct rules or if you have concerns about another participant's behaviour, we encourage you to speak to us about it. We want all participants to be confident that we will deal with any report respectfully and appropriately. This page outlines the process for reporting a breach of our conduct rules and explains how we respond and our timescales for dealing with a report.
The accompanying page on sanctions explains the possible actions we can take in response once we reach a decision.
We've laid out the steps for reporting a conduct problem in a flow chart. You can also read about the process in more detail underneath.
I need to report a
You can go to GOD, or ask anyone with a radio to contact someone from conduct for you. Or if you prefer, you can email the conduct team after the event.
Are you at
You can email email@example.com at any time between events.
If you choose to report at the event, a conduct team member will arrive to see you as soon as possible.
We will confirm receipt of your email within 72 hours.
The conduct team member will ask you to tell them what happened and record any information you feel comfortable sharing.
The conduct team will read through your report, and contact you again within two weeks.
We will ask you how you would like us to proceed.
Conduct will investigate your report and contact other people involved. We won't contact anyone you have asked us not to contact.
Can we carry out
In line with your wishes, we won't contact anyone. We will keep a confidential record permanently on file of everything you told us.
The conduct team meets weekly. We'll be in touch with you every fortnight and let you know when a decision is reached.
A confidential report is treated as corroborating evidence if there are any similar reports about the same person at any point.
We will inform you of any action we plan to take. We will not give a caution or formal warning if you have asked us not to.
If at a later date the person receives a sanction that is relevant to your report because another report is made against them – we will let you know.
What Can I Report?
- Any breach of our conduct rules is always worth reporting, regardless of when or where it took place or who it involves
- You can report any activity by another participant that you have witnessed or experienced that has made you feel uncomfortable or distressed
- You can report a breach of conduct another person has experienced if they have shared details with you
- You can make a report about anyone who attends Empire events in any capacity
Our code of conduct lays out the standards of behaviour we require for all participants who attend Empire. If you have seen or experienced a breach of these rules by another participant, we encourage you to report it. If another participant has confided in you with details of an incident that you consider to be a breach of conduct, then we would also like you to report that to us. You can report any incident, regardless of where it took place, or when. It could have occurred anywhere online, at one of our events, or elsewhere.
You can report a breach of conduct by any participant at an Empire event. If you report a breach of conduct by someone who has never attended an Empire event and does not have an account on our system, then we will make a note of the report but take no further action. If you have a complaint about another participant who is no longer permitted to attend our events, then we will let you know that they are already banned.
If you unsure whether something breaches our conduct rules, but it has left you feeling uncomfortable or distressed, then we would still encourage you to speak to us. We can discuss the incident with you to see if any of our rules have been violated and look at what steps we can take to support you.
You might be worried about whether an incident is worth reporting, or concerned that reporting might cause problems for us or take up our time. We would always rather know about what is happening - reporting helps us to make our events safer for everyone.
How Do I Report?
- The best person to speak to first is a member of our conduct team
- The conduct team are Emma Woods, Clare Evans, Chris Penney and Graeme Jamieson
- Any member of crew with a radio can use it to contact the conduct team for you
- During events you can also phone the Games Operation Desk (GOD) team during the day (or the security team at night) on 07817 133 793
- You can email the conduct team at firstname.lastname@example.org between events
All breaches of conduct are investigated by our conduct team - Emma Woods, Clare Evans, Chris Penney and Graeme Jamieson. Emma Woods is the head of conduct - ideally she is your first point of contact if you are experiencing a problem. However, you can ask for anyone if you would prefer to speak to a specific member of the team or a member of the team of a particular gender.
If you are at an event, you can bring a conduct problem to the attention of any member of crew. There is usually at least one egregore in every nation camp, as well as referees who operate throughout the in-character area, all of whom have a radio they can use to try to get hold of a member of the conduct team for you.
Rather than reporting in detail to the crew member, let them know that you want to speak to the conduct team. If you cannot easily find a member of crew with a radio, the best alternative is to go to GOD to get help there. You can also call the PD mobile phone throughout the event on 07817 133 793. This will reach a member of GOD during the day, or a member of the security team at night.
If you are reporting a problem after an event, we have a dedicated email address - email@example.com. This goes directly to every member of the conduct team.
If you need to make a report about a member of the conduct team, then you should to speak to Matt Pennington - you can ask any member of crew to be put in touch with him or email him on firstname.lastname@example.org. He will make arrangements for you to speak in confidence with the remaining members of the conduct team.
When Can I Report?
- You can report a breach of conduct during an event or at any point between events
- During an event, you can contact the conduct team between 9am and 1am
- After 1am the security team respond to incidents and can arrange for the conduct team to contact you the following day
- You can report a historic event - it does not matter how long ago an incident occurred
Members of the conduct team are available between 9am and 1am at every event to report a problem in person. If an incident occurs during the night and you are concerned for your immediate safety, you can contact the security team. They will refer the matter to the conduct team the next morning so that they can arrange to speak to you.
Alternatively, you can make a report to the conduct team online, via email, at any point between events.
We understand that speaking to Profound Decisions about a breach of conduct can be intimidating. If an incident takes place at an event, it is easier to investigate it more thoroughly while everyone involved is still on site. However, we know that reporting during events is not possible for everyone and that you may need time before you feel ready to speak to us. It does not matter how much time has passed since an incident occurred - we will take any breach of our conduct rules seriously, regardless of how long ago it was.
If you are at an event, and a conduct experience has led to you feeling anxious or distressed, you can ask to speak with a member of the participant welfare team. You may do this before, after or instead of speaking with the conduct team.
What Happens Next?
- A member of the conduct team will ask you for a full description of the events that took place
- They will ask your permission to begin an investigation - this means they will speak to as many people involved in the incident as you allow them to
- Once they have gathered all the information possible, the conduct team will review it and then let you know the outcome and what actions they plan to take
The conduct team will ask you for as full a description of the conduct problem as you feel comfortable providing. It is not a problem if you don't know the player or character name, but the more information you can give us the easier it will be for us to identify them. The team may ask some follow up questions, such as when the incident occurred, or how many times it has happened. If you are reporting online behaviour, they will ask if you have any relevant screenshots, emails, or private messages. The more information you can give, the more it will help the team - but there is no mandatory level of detail you must give for your report to be taken seriously.
The conduct team will then ask for your permission to begin an investigation. This usually involves the team speaking to the people mentioned in your report, looking over all the information they can gather, and making a decision. If there is anyone you do not want the conduct team to speak to about the incident, then you must let them know at this point.
Whether or not an investigation takes place, the team will go on to review all the information available and make a decision. This will include looking at any previous reports on record. There are a range of possible sanctions that we can impose. The conduct team will let you know the outcome and what course of action they plan to take. If you prefer, you can ask them not to take some actions.
The conduct team will keep a permanent record of your report and any investigations made, and will take them into account if any future conduct reports are made about the same individual.
How Much Agency Will I Have?
- The conduct team will not conduct an investigation without your permission
- If you agree to an investigation, you can still ask us not to approach named individuals
- The team won't impose any sanctions without your permission, unless we need to ban someone for the safety of the event
- If you have asked that no sanctions be imposed, the conduct team may still impose them on the basis of other reports
We are keen to investigate any breaches of conduct that take place in the Empire community, but as far as possible we aim to do this only within limits set by you. We will ask you if you are happy for us to investigate your report. If we investigate, you can ask us not to contact one or more individuals. You can also ask us not to impose specific sanctions. As far as possible, we will respect your wishes.
If you ask us not to investigate your report, the conduct team will still ask you to provide them with as complete a description of events as you feel comfortable providing. We will keep a confidential record permanently on file of everything you told us, but we won't undertake any further investigation of the matter. This will usually limit our ability to take effective action as our conduct team will decide what outcome is appropriate based on the information they have been able to gather. However, it is always useful to have your report on record even if you don't want the conduct team to investigate it, as it helps us to establish patterns of behaviour if there are any other reports about the same individual.
If the team do have your permission to carry out an investigation, then they will do so, but they will not contact anyone you ask them not to approach. For example, you can ask the team not to contact the person you are reporting, or not to contact specific eyewitnesses or other people your report mentions. This can limit our ability to look into the matter, but we will still carry out as full an investigation as possible within the remit you have permitted.
If you give us permission to carry out an investigation but later you change your mind, then we will not investigate further. If you have asked us not to investigate your report, you can change your mind at any time and we will open an investigation.
The conduct team will decide what sanctions are appropriate to impose. We will not impose a caution on an individual or give them a formal warning if you have asked us not to do so. We will only override your request if we feel we need to permanently ban someone to remove a substantial risk of serious harm.
In all cases, we will keep a permanent record of your report on our database. This record will only be visible to members of the conduct team and key senior members of staff at Profound Decisions who need access to the information to run events as safely as possible. If any other reports are made in the future involving the same person, the conduct team will take your report and any previous reports into account.
How Long Will It Take?
- If you report a problem at an event, the conduct team will update you on any progress or conclusion before the end of the event
- If the team are still dealing with your report after the event has ended, they will update you by email at least every two weeks
- If you report a problem by email between events, the team will acknowledge receipt of your report within 72 hours and update you on progress at least every two weeks
It takes time for the conduct team to gather and review information, complete any investigation, and decide what action to take. At an event, the team may need to find and speak to people in the field, and also meet to discuss actions they plan to take. If you report a conduct problem at an event, they will endeavour as far as possible to update you on any progress or conclusion before the end of that event. They will also let you know if they need to contact you with any follow-up information by email.
Outside of events, the team will need to collate information, which may involve waiting for people to reply to emails. The team will also need to hold regular meetings to discuss conduct cases. If you report a problem between events, the conduct team will send an acknowledgement that they have received your report within 72 hours. If we are dealing with any report between events we will update you on progress every two weeks until the matter is concluded.
- The conduct team will attempt to let you know if an individual you have previously reported is banned from our events
If you have reported the behaviour of another participant, the conduct team will let you know the outcome of any investigation and any action they have taken. If we later ban the individual in question following a separate report, we will attempt to contact you to let you know. We will only do this if we believe you are still actively playing Empire.
Involving the Police
- We will support your decision if you wish to contact the police about another participant's behaviour
- We will never pressure you to report an incident to the police
- We have a legal obligation to inform the police of any suspected acts of terrorism
- We have a legal obligation to inform the police about any behaviour where there are concerns that a child or vulnerable adult might be at risk of significant harm
A serious breach of our rules for conduct may constitute a criminal offence. Profound Decisions policy is that any decision to report a crime is a choice for the victim alone. The conduct team will take any report you make to them seriously, regardless of whether or not you also decide to report it to the police. Any participant who wishes to report a matter to the police will have our full support and cooperation in doing that.
We have an obligation to report suspected criminal activity that involves terrorism or where there is concern about the protection of children and vulnerable adults. We will comply with any legal requirements in this regard.
- We do not share details of reports with any other event organisations or LRP systems
- We will inform sanctioned event organisers if a participant who is banned books for their event
Access to Conduct Data
- All members of the conduct team
- Matthew Pennington - event manager
- Alison Pennington - site manager
- Miranda Brennan - head of online moderation
If you make a report to our conduct team, they will share key details with each other as part of their standard process, so that they can determine an agreed response. Details of cases may be shared with key personnel who need to know those details for event and community safety and to support the conduct team to carry out their roles. The list of people with potential access to conduct information is listed opposite.
We will not share any details of your report with anyone else unless we are legally compelled to do so. We will not take steps to investigate a report if you have asked us not to. We won't approach any individual you name as part of any investigation you've agreed we can undertake.
Under our terms and conditions for sanctioned events, organisers are not permitted to accept bookings from individuals who are banned from Profound Decisions events. If an individual receives a ban and we discover that they have booked to attend any sanctioned event, we will inform the sanctioned event organiser. We do not disclose details of sanctions with other game systems, beyond the situations outlined above.