Bystander Intervention

Many opportunities exist in daily life where people can help prevent behaviors that promote power-based personal violence. 

A bystander is someone who intervenes before, during, or after a situation. 

  • A Bystander can be Proactive or Reactive
    • Reactive-in the moment intervention when you notice a potentially harmful situation
    • Proactive- setting norms that violence isn’t going to be tolerated before harmful behaviors even happen 
  • Bystanders can speak up when they witness these actions to foster a campus community where violence isn’t tolerated, and everyone will do their part to step in.

Bystander Intervention


  • Direct- Saying something directly to the people involved (person being harmed, and or person doing harm) and address the behavior, acknowledge that what is happening is not okay
  • Delegate- Ask someone to step in maybe a friend of the people involved, maybe a bartender, an RA, or law enforcement. This is a great strategy for a bystander who wants to help, but, may feel uncomfortable or unsafe addressing the situation directly.
  • Distract- Doing something that can take the focus off of whatever the negative behavior might be. For example: spill a drink, turn off the music, tell someone their car is getting towed, pretend you need help finding your keys etc.  


  • Attend sexual violence prevention and awareness events.
  • Display buttons, stickers, and messages with the Green Dot logo, or other violence prevention messaging.
  • Join groups on social media that promote equality, etc. 

When and How to Intervene:

  • Every situation is different. There is no universal response when intervening to prevent a potentially harmful situation. 
  • Safety is key in deciding when and how to respond to violence.
  • Every person must make their own decision about the safest and most meaningful way to intervene. 
  • The campus wide Green Dot initiative provides both Reactive and Proactive strategies for intervening so that people can find a way to intervene that is comfortable and realistic for them.
  • When considering reactive intervention strategies consider the 3D’s of