Bystander Intervention

Bystander intervention is a crucial strategy in preventing sexual bullying in schools. Through bystander intervention strategies, would-be casual observers to sexual bullying become engaged in the fight to stop it. 

Active bystanders are educated about the issue. They understand the cultural and societal factors that have “normalized” sexual bullying in schools are misleading and harmful to their friends and peers who are victimized by these behaviors. 

Who is a bystander?

A bystander is an individual who is standing near and observes a situation but does not become involved in it. They literally “stand by” while an act occurs.

Bystanders can be youth or adults – students, teachers, administrators, staff, and anyone in the community.

Active bystanders intervene in any way that helps the victim. While directly intervening is one approach, it’s not the only approach. Active bystanders may distract the perpetrator; ask their peers for help; call someone during a situation; or report it to a trusted adult.

While their qualitative feedback does not represent a scientific sample of the population, it does validate the need for youth to be instructed – and empowered – to step up, step in, and stop sexual bullying when they see it. Your Step Up. Step In. ambassador can learn more about bystander intervention strategies through the following resources:

Intervention Resources

Interventions

The Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment, Teach Safe Schools.org

Bystander Intervention Resources

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

STOP Sexual Violence, A Sexual Violence Bystander Intervention Training Toolkit

New York State Department of Health

Be More Than a Bystander

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, StopBullying.Gov
Scroll to Top