Bystander intervention is a strategy for the prevention of different types of violence – examples include bullying, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and partner violence.
It’s basically about stepping in to assist another person that is experiencing harm or abuse – bystander intervention is an important part of helping and supporting others in a community. In choosing to be an ‘active bystander’, you can make a positive contribution towards improving a challenging situation for another person/s.
There are a few key steps for bystander intervention:
1. Notice the event: Sometimes we can miss something we’re not looking for – notice what is going on around you and look at what appears to be happening.
2. Interpret it as a problem: This second step involves being able to identify the situation as a problem that requires intervention. For example – Are the two people standing close together being affectionate, or is one being intimidating or aggressive towards the other? You may benefit from gathering more information, e.g. observing the situation, checking in verbally and/ asking someone else what they may have seen.
3. Feel responsible for helping: Taking personal responsibility and engaging others where you can is important – “I’ll do A” and “you do B”. Even if it appears that the situation is ‘not your business’ or someone else should intervene, you may need to help make that happen.
4. Have information and skills: Never put yourself in danger, but if you can do something be prepared, with a plan in place. Knowing how to intervene safely and effectively improves the ability to intervene.
5. Take action.
Some practical strategies for intervening in a situation:
- Avoid being aggressive
- Remain calm and try to keep others calm
- Be supportive and non-judgmental
- Be active and focus on what you can do
- Be honest and direct whenever possible
- Keep yourself and others safe, assessing the risk of direct intervention. If you are at all concerned about your own or others safety, you can choose a more indirect approach
- Get help. Refer to a person in authority…see below
To learn more about bystander intervention visit:
Do you, or anyone you know, need any assistance, support, or even just someone to chat to? Drop by the Accommodation Services office, or email Mandy (Health and Wellbeing Coordinator) to organise a chat.
Email Mandy – email@example.com