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Bystander Intervention

Be an Ethical Bystander

A bystander is a witness to an event. An ethical bystander is someone who witnesses an event, and then does something to help. These actions help to create a safe, respectful, and welcoming community.


Steps to bystander intervention:

1.    Notice the event. This starts by paying attention to your surroundings!

2.    Ask yourself, “What is the worst that could happen if I don’t intervene in this situation?” This allows you to think through whether this event is problematic, and it helps you to assume personal responsibility.

3. Take action! 


If you see something, DO something.

Before deciding which strategy to use, consider: your personal safety, your position in that situation, and weigh the consequences and benefits of intervening. 


Strategies include the 4 D’s of bystander intervention:

1.    Direct – Directly intervene. Go up to the person and stop the behavior.

2.    Distract – Do something to distract either party.

a.    Examples: “Hey! I think your car is getting towed!”, “OMG, I haven’t seen you in FOREVER. Let’s chat!”, “There’s someone looking for you – you should go find them.”

3.    Delegate – Get help from others. Get the bouncer of the club, your friends, the potential aggressor’s or victims’ friends, or the host of the party to help you. This is an especially useful strategy if intervening directly might jeopardize your personal safety.

4.    Delay – Check in later. It’s possible that someone may not want help at that moment, but they might want it later.

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