Bystander Intervention

What it is?

Bystander intervention is about preventing and de-escalating potentially violent incidents. It is the willingness to take action and help someone in time of need.

Domestic and Sexual Violence is Preventable

You can help prevent it by being an Active Bystander!

  • Look out for their friends, fellow students and co-workers.
  • Prevent bad things from happening by intervening -not standing by.
  • Strive to create a safe community for everyone (regardless of their identity).
  • Take responsibility for their reactions toward inappropriate behavior.
  • Battle the Bystander Effect. The Bystander Effect is a phenomenon in which the more people who witness an emergency event, the less likely anyone is to intervene. but, silence and passivity are not neutral. They encourage attitudes and behaviors that promote violence.

Why We Talk About the Bystander

  • We all witness language and behavior that can be defined as hurtful, harmful, or potentially illegal
  • Makes everyone part a successful intervention strategy and approach to prevention
  • Bystanders can elicit social influence and exert positive peer pressure (Social Norms)

Bystander Approach

  • Approach: Proactive
  • When: Before a person has acquired risk factors for perpetrating or before abuse has occurred
  • Focus on: Individuals, Communities, Organizations, Systems or Social Norms

Choose Your Own Intervention...but Always Have a Plan & Stay Safe

  • The Divider: Step in and separate both people. Let them know your concerns and reasons for intervening. Be a friend and let them know you are acting in their best interest. Make sure they each get out of the situation safely.
  • The Interrupter: Step into redirect the focus somewhere else: "Hey, I need to talk to you."
  • The Evaluator: Evaluate the situation and people involved to determine your best move. You could directly intervene yourself, or alert others to come in and help. If the person reacts badly, try a different approach.
  • The Recruiter: Recruit help from others to step in as a group. Make a plan..."I'll do A, you do B."
  • The Disrupter: Divert the attention of one person away from the other. Have someone standing by to redirect the focus. Commit an intentional foul if you need to (i.e. dropping something to create a diversion).

Did you know?

According to the NSRV, 1 out of 4 women on all college campuses across the US will be victims of Dating/Intimate Partner Violence. It can take the form of:

  • Physical violence
  • Verbal abuse, sexual pressure, rape
  • Psychological abuse
  • Financial or religious control

Your intervention can make all the difference as demonstrated in this video developed by Ohio State University.