Protecting Others

Be an intervener! Stop these incidents before they occur, and talk to your friends about it so that they will intervene as well! (from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse)

The best way bystanders can assist in creating an empowering climate that is free of interpersonal violence is to diffuse problem behaviors before they escalate into dangerous situations.

  • Educate yourself about interpersonal violence AND share this info with friends
  • Confront friends who make excuses for other peoples abusive behavior
  • Speak up against racist, sexist, and homophobic jokes or remarks

Tips for Intervening

In a situation potentially involving sexual assault, relationship violence, or stalking:

  • Approach everyone as a friend
  • Do not be antagonistic
  • Avoid using violence
  • Be honest and direct whenever possible
  • Recruit help if necessary
  • Keep yourself safe
  • If things get out of hand or become too serious, contact the police

The Bystander Intervention Playbook

From the University of Vermont

  • Defensive Split - Step in and separate two people. Let them know your concerns and reasons for intervening. Be a friend and let them know you are acting in their best interest. Make sure each person makes it home safely
  • Pick and Roll - Use a distraction to redirect the focus somewhere else: "Hey, I need to talk to you." or "Hey, this party is lame. Let's go somewhere else."
  • The Option - Evaluate the situation and people involved to determine your best move. You could directly intervene yourself, or alert friends of each person to come in and help. If the person reacts badly, try a different approach.
  • Full Court Press - Recruit the help of friends of both people to step in as a group.
  • Fumblerooski - Divert the attention of one person away from the other person. Have someone standing by to redirect the other person's focus (see Pick and Roll). Commit a party foul (i.e. spilling your drink) if you need to.

*Please remember that any situation that threatens physical harm to yourself or another student should be assessed carefully. Contact police if needed to assist to defuse the situation.

STEP UP! is a prosocial behavior and bystander intervention program that educates students to be proactive in helping others. Teaching people about the determinants of prosocial behavior makes them more aware of why they sometimes don't help. As a result they are more likely to help in the future.

The goals of STEP UP! are to:

  • Raise awareness of helping behaviors
  • Increase motivation to help
  • Develop skills and confidence when responding to problems or concerns
  • Ensure the safety and well-being of self and other

If you are part of a student organization and would like to receive training about bystander intervention or if you would like to teach others about bystander intervention, please email