Dear SPJA Constituents and Stakeholders:
Thank you for your feedback regarding the newly implemented Youth Protection Program. Our intention in developing the policy is to create a safe event for children and minors, as about 15% of Anime Expo’s attendees are under the age of 18. As SPJA is the first organization to implement a policy of this scale, we welcomed your feedback and will be making updates to accommodate the challenges expressed about the Youth Protection Policy.
Amendments to the Youth Protection Policy include:
- Optional background checks for Artist Alley Participants, Exhibitors, Press, Guests of Honor, Performers and Vendors, though all are strongly encouraged to join the initiative and to take the training videos materials available at SPJA’S Youth Protection Portal.
SPJA will continue to require background checks of its employees and volunteers. Our commitment to create a safe event is unwavering and all other key parts of our Youth Protection Program remain in full force and effect. We are creating SafeSpace kiosks and other means for youth to report and receive immediate help. Significantly increased private security and LA Police officers will be present onsite. To protect minors from exposure to adult content, spatial separation and ID checks will be enforced at AX. Exhibitors will be required to keep adult materials behind closed pipe and drape, and to conduct ID checks at entrances to adult areas. Similarly, adult programming will be physically separated from other programming spaces and IDs will be required for access.
When “Cosplay is not Consent” was brought to our attention, we listened. Last year, we published our “Zero Tolerance Policy” regarding predatory or sexual behavior at our events. This served as a testament to our dedication to all participants and attendees and now we are proud to pioneer the movement in youth protection.
Awareness and education remain a key part of SPJA’s Youth Protection Policy. As noted above, SPJA strongly encourages all of its Artist Alley, Exhibitors, Press, Guests of Honor, Performers and Vendors to require everyone whom they are bringing to AX to participate in the new on-line training videos about how to prevent child sexual abuse and molestation at www.youthprotectionportal.org/SPJA. Instead of requiring this training, we trust that you will choose to inform yourself and your staff on these topics.
We’re thrilled that so many of you joined in the conversation and your enthusiasm to promoting the love of anime and Japanese culture is inspiring. In the coming year, we will invite our constituents and stakeholders to participate in our deliberations of the best strategies to further our commitment to protect our youth.