The Barristers' Safe Place
The Bar Council has approved the creation of an online forum, called the ‘Safe Place’, where barristers may meet and ventilate matters of concern to them, in a confidential setting. It is an early intervention initiative where issues can be talked through before they escalate.
Members are invited to register for a Zoom meeting on Friday, 30 July 2021 at 5.00pm. Dauid Sibtain, a member of the Wellbeing Committee, will be the convenor. He will be assisted by a representative from BarCare.
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A great tradition at the Bar is the ‘Open Door Policy’ and it is to be hoped that it will continue. However, the Wellbeing Committee believes, anecdotally, that there is demand among a new generation of barristers to seek support in the online medium, particularly since the advent of COVID-19, which has brought about an increase in working from home. Some have turned to the Bar Association’s Ethics Guidance service for advice on matters that are not strictly related to ethics.
To be sure, BarCare is another great resource. However, a barrister is more likely to call BarCare when a problem has developed into a crisis. That is why the Wellbeing Committee is setting up the Safe Place to be concomitant with BarCare.
The discussion group will operate online. Participants will have the opportunity to make full use of security settings on the Zoom AVL platform to protect their interests. Topics for discussion may be submitted to the convenor in advance or by using the chat function. Members may adjust the settings so as not to display their identity. Alternatively, those who wish to contribute may be admitted as a panellist to make their contribution. Those who do not want to share would be able to listen to others.
The format would be similar to that adopted by ‘12 Step programs’ insofar as moderators would not provide advice. Rather, the moderators would throw open the floor for each barrister to share their experiences or concerns (on a voluntary basis), without commentary from others and on the condition of discretion and confidentiality.
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