Bystander Intervention

Bystander intervention is the act of feeling empowered and equipped with the knowledge and skills to effectively assist in the prevention of sexual violence.

Bystander intervention is encouraged through safe and positive intervention techniques and by empowering third-party intervention and prevention such as calling for help, using intervention based apps, identifying allies and/or creating distractions. Bystanders are encourage to take precautions to protect their own safety as much as possible when planning an intervention.

Bystander Intervention plays a significant role in the prevention of sexual misconduct. Bystander intervention:

  1. discourages victim blaming and makes the issue a community problem rather than individual problem;
  2. helps create allies in ending sexual misconduct;
  3. plays a role in social and community norm changing.

“Bystanders are more likely to “engage in pro-social behavior” when they are aware that there is a problem and they see themselves as a responsible party in solving the problem.”

- Latane, B., & Darley, J. M. (1970).

  1. Recognize signs that an act of sexual violence may occur or is occurring.
  2. Identify that the potential victim is at risk and that intervention is appropriate.
  3. Decide whether or not to take responsibility to intervene.
  4. Decide the most appropriate and safest way to intervene.
  5. Implement the decision to intervene safely to diffuse the situation.

Burn, S. M. (2009).