VOLUNTEER CLINIC ESCORT GUIDELINES
Thanks for your interest in volunteering as a pro-choice clinic escort. We really appreciate your support for the patients and staff of abortion providing clinics.
Before you show up, there are some things we need you to know.
Your role as a clinic escort is to be an emotional support and non-confrontational human shield for any patients and support people who may need it.
It’s very important that you do not engage with any anti-choice people who may be at the clinic, even if they attempt to engage you. You’re not there to debate or argue with them, or to try and change their mind. They are not your focus; the patients and support people attending the clinic are.
There are no set shift lengths for clinic escorting. It is entirely up to you how much time you are willing and able to volunteer. You may be there alone or there may be other escorts there with you.
When you arrive, pop in to reception at the clinic and introduce yourself. We’ll need you to sign in with your name and either an email address or phone number and the time you start. The clinic staff will give you a badge to pin on and a ribbon to tie around your head/arm/wrist/neck – anywhere visible, so you’re easily identifiable as an ally to patients and support people approaching the clinic. The staff will also tell you whereabouts to stand outside, so you’ll be accessible to people as they arrive. At the end of your shift, sign out at the clinic reception and give your badge and ribbon back for the next volunteer to use.
WHAT TO DO
- Offer to walk with patients and support people as they approach the clinic and/or as they leave.
- Be approachable. Smile at people as they arrive if you feel it’s appropriate.
- Make sure your badge and ribbon are as visible as possible.
- Check in with the clinic staff if you feel anti-choicers are on clinic property, or getting aggressive towards patients, support people, or escorts.
WHAT NOT TO DO
- Engage, argue, debate, or react to any of the participants of the vigil. If they are physically blocking the path to the clinic, try and put yourself between them and any patients and just politely ask them to move or to let people past. Do not push or touch them in any way. Be polite to them at all times.
CAPTURING YOUR EXPERIENCE
Not responding to vigil participants while you’re on your shift is really important, but if you’d like to debrief about your shift or share what you saw or how you felt, you can totally do that with us. If you see any behaviour from vigil participants that you feel is aggressive or intimidating to patients, and it’s safe to do so, you might like to take photos or video on your phone. Do not get in people’s faces to do this, and try and avoid filming patients and support people if you can. You can send these, or any words about your shift, to us at email@example.com or via facebook message.