Bystander Intervention

A typical bystander…

Goes through 5 stages when determining whether or not to act:

1. Notice the situation

2. Interpret the situation as requiring intervention

3. Assume responsibility for intervening

4. Know how to effectively help/Decide how best to help

5. Actually intervene in the situation

Being an active bystander does not mean that you should risk your personal safety, or that you need to become a vigilante. There are a range of actions that are appropriate, depending on you and the risky situation at hand. Remember, if you are ever worried for the immediate safety of yourself or others, you can decide to leave the situation and seek outside help – that’s still bystander intervention!


The ideal bystander…

  1. Approaches everyone as a friend.
  2. Is honest and direct whenever possible.
  3. Tries to de-escalate the situation before it is a crisis.
  4. Avoids using violence as a means of intervention.
  5. Refrains from antagonizing or accusatory actions when possible.
  6. Asks for help from others present when needed.

7. Knows when to contact someone for professional assistance (Dean of Student Life, UMW Police Department, Residence Life, Title IX Coordinator, The Talley Center for Counseling Services, Student Conduct & Responsibility, etc).