Skip to Main Content
Dean of Students Office
twoColumn twoLeft

Education & Programming

Bystander Intervention

Bystander Intervention is where someone who isn’t directly involved safely steps in to assist another who may need support or who may be in a harmful situation. Stepping up may give the person you are concerned about the opportunity to get to a safe place or leave the situation.

Everyone can be an active bystander. Knowing the warning signs and how to intervene is an essential part of Bystander Intervention. 

  • Distract

    Distraction is a strategy of intervening that is both direct and non – confrontational. There are many ways to disrupt a situation. You can start a conversation with the person, spill a drink, or compliment their attire. Your goal is to draw attention away and prevent the problem from escalating.

  • Delegate

    If you do not feel comfortable directly approaching the situation, look for a third party to assist you. There is much power in numbers. Delegating looks different for each case, but you may be interested in calling a resource such as 911, a Victim Advocate, a Resident Assistant, the Counseling Center, or a friend. These resources can assist you with intervening.

  • Document

     If it is safe to do so and/or someone is already helping the target, write notes or take a video. Keep a safe distance and make sure to take of the day and time, as well as the location. Always ask the person who was harassed what they want to do with your recording and/or notes. Never post it online or use it without their permission. 

  • Delay

    After the incident, ask the person if they are okay and offer your support. Your support could look like sharing resources or helping with making a report, or even just sitting with them for a while. 

  • Direct

    The Direct approach uses words or actions to non-confrontationally assist the person. Direct Intervention is used when you feel safe and capable of intervening directly. Always assess the situation before you decide to respond. If you do decide to interact, keep it short and succinct to prevent further escalation. 

Programming Requests

Want to learn more about Bystander Interpretation? The Victim Advocacy program is available for educational programming for departments and groups. Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Domestic Violence
  • Dating Violence
  • Stalking
  • Sexual Violence
  • Bystander Intervention
  • Consent Workshops

To request a program, please submit our Programming Request Form