Bystander Intervention

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What is bystander intervention?

Bystander intervention is a crucial strategy in preventing sexual bullying in schools/youth serving organizations. Through bystander intervention strategies, casual observers to sexual bullying become engaged in the fight to stop it. 

Active bystanders are educated about the issue. They understand cultural and societal factors that have “normalized” sexual bullying 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 the qualitative feedback from the focus groups conducted by GNESA 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