CARES is a subcommittee of ACM SIGSOFT. All ACM SIG events and communications abide by ACM’s policy against discrimination and harassment. All ACM SIG publications abide by ACM’s policies on plagiarism, misrepresentation, and falsification; on coercion and abuse in the ACM publications process; and on roles and responsibilities in ACM publishing. If a violation of any of these policies occur, ACM urges reporting the incident to the event chair or to ACM leadership, as indicated on those webpages. You may also report violations using the following forms:

  • Report an ethics violation here.
  • Report harassment, discrimination, intimidation, or violence here.
  • Report a policy violation such as a conflict of interest violation, coercion, abuse, misrepresentation, plagiarism, falsification or abuse of publication process here.

We recognize that reporting to a conference chair or an upper level ACM administrator can be intimidating, especially in the face of an already unpleasant experience. We have therefore established CARES: Committee to Aid REporting on discrimination, harassment, and related ethical violations.

The role of CARES is to serve as a resource comprising of well-known and respected people in the software engineering community who are approachable and willing to listen to and help people who experience or witness discrimination, harassment or other ethical policy violation, either at our events or related to ACM publications; the committee members can be a sounding board for these people and can provide advice on the steps necessary to have the matter further investigated by ACM. It is important to understand that for the matter to be reported, the person experiencing the incident must still themselves send the complaint to ACM where it will be handled according to ACM’s policies. The CARES committee cannot serve as an intermediary in that official process and it cannot be involved in any aspect of the handling of the complaint by ACM.

The motivation in providing a standing CARES committee is: (1) people are more likely to report harassment, discrimination or other ethical policy violations if familiar and respected members of the community are available for support, (2) unlike conference chairs, the members of the CARES committee will be chosen largely for their commitment and record on the targeted issues, (3) longer membership terms and an (eventually) established committee enable building experience and a record that inspires more trust for those considering coming forward about an incident, (4) committee members are expected to be physically present at our main events and work with event leaders to publicize their role, and (5) the presence of such a committee with respected and trusted members from the community assigned to watch for these issues should serve as a deterrent for such behavior as well as encourage us all to be aware of and speak up if we observe such behavior.

What CARES does. CARES is dedicated to providing completely confidential support to members of the software engineering community. We listen to members who come to us for advice or who just want to talk. If they would like advice on what kinds of actions they can take, we do our best to provide such advice.

The SIGARCH/SIGMICRO CARES committee and the SIGPLAN CARES committee led to foundation of this SIGSOFT CARES committee.


The SIGSOFT CARES bylaws can be found here.

A collection of CARES resources can be found here.

Confidentiality and Privacy Policy

Consultations with SIGSOFT CARES members regarding harassment, discrimination, or inappropriate behaviour are confidential:

  • You will not be asked to share more than you want to share (including your name).
  • No CARES member will forward to others more information than you want shared with others (you can choose to share nothing).
  • You may ask a CARES member to play a supporting role in your filing a complaint to ACM (a listening ear, a sounding board, a support person at meetings), but they will not forward your information or file a complaint with ACM on your behalf.
  • If you file a complaint with ACM, all parties involved in an investigation are required to treat shared information with the utmost discretion and confidentiality.

UNLESS you say something that suggests that your or someone else’s safety is at risk, in which case a CARES member may be required to share enough information to ensure safety. The primary goal of CARES is to provide a safe place for you to discuss your experiences and to help you understand possible options, available resources, and next steps.

Current Committee Members

The current CARES committee members can be found here.

Covered Conferences

CARES members are always available by email to correspond and to set up a call with anyone who would like to speak with us about harassment, discrimination, or other concerns related to building and sustaining an inclusive research community.

In addition, one or more CARES members will act as (a part of) the Onsite Response Team at conferences by announcing their presence at the beginning of the meeting and at the business meeting, and being available for in-person conversations throughout the conference at sessions, breaks, associated meetings, etc. A CARES member will be available for email and phone calls for on-line PC meetings and other events associated with the conference. We will announce the CARES members attending below. At conferences, we will typically set up a table for at least an hour a day and announce the time and location. Initially, the following conferences will have guaranteed coverage.

  • ICSE
  • ASE

CARES committee members may also attend other workshops and conferences sponsored or co-sponsored by SIGSOFT, when they normally would attend. As the committee expands in membership, it may add conferences to the guaranteed list.


  • ASE 2023 :
  • ICSE 2023 : Andrew Begel, Bonita Sharif, Kelly Blincoe, Joanne Atlee, Alexander Serebrenik, Gail Murphy, Marsha Chechik
  • ESEC/FSE 2022 : Kelly Blincoe, Gail Murphy, Marsha Chechik

Annual Reports

Our first annual report will be available in 2023. To maintain confidentially, the reports will be brief. They will not contain details about the types of contacts that CARES members have made and they will not even contain specific numbers of contacts. The reports will be structured this way to protect the privacy of those that approach us.