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Be an Active Bystander

Active bystanders intervene to prevent harm to members of their communities. These activities and resources will support you to develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence to make safe, effective interventions in response to harmful behaviour and attitudes.

Active Bystander Intervention Course

For students: Through five two-hour seminars this course will support you to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to make safe and effective interventions in response to harmful behaviours and attitudes.

Active Bystanders Can Save Lives

Find out how active bystander intervention strategies can save lives, including in response to sudden cardiac arrest, drink spiking and alcohol poisoning.

Active Bystanders in the Teaching Space

For those who teach: Access support to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to address unacceptable behaviour in the reaching space to create a safe, engaged, inclusive learning experience.

What is the 'active bystander' approach?

There are four stages we must move through to become an active bystander and make an intervention when we witness harmful behaviours or attitudes:

  1. Noticing the event or situation
  2. Interpreting it as a problem
  3. Feeling responsible for addressing it
  4. Taking action to prevent (further) harm

The golden rule of the active bystander approach is to only intervene in a way that is safe.

There are five main types of active bystander strategies:

  • Distract - create a distraction to interrupt the harmful behaviour and/or offer a victim opportunity to move away.
  • Delegate - engage others with the necessary skills, training, or authority to assist in making an intervention.
  • Direct - challenge the behaviour or attitudes directly.
  • Delayed - offer your support, signpost to support services and reporting routes, and take further action after the incident.
  • Document - make a record of key information to aid with delegating and reporting, and/or to dissuade further harmful behaviour.

Active bystander intervention strategies work in response to behaviours like sexual misconduct, harassment, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and more.

Our Active Bystander Intervention course helps you to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to use these strategies.

Order a pin badge or bookmark

Show your support by wearing a pin badge or using a Be an Active Bystander bookmark.

Share your story

Share your experience of making an intervention as an active bystander in response to harmful behaviour or attitudes, or to support someone in distress.

Support and signposting

Access information on available support services at the University, for support or signposting others to support.