https://www.necc.mass.edu/discover/consumer-information/clery-report/staying-safe/ Dec 05 2022 17:00:59

Staying Safe

Bystander Intervention

What is Bystander Intervention? 

Bystander Intervention is recognizing a potentially harmful situation or interaction and choosing to respond in a way that could positively influence the outcome. Whether it’s  sexual violence, stalking, a friend who’s drinking too much or a teammate using hurtful language, we’ve all been in situations that make us uncomfortable. It can be difficult to speak up–especially if others are around. We may tell ourselves things like, “If no one else is worried, then I shouldn’t worry either.” But all you have to do is take the first step.


Everyone Can Help

There are five steps to helping when witness to a problematic or potentially problematic situation:

  1. Notice the Event: People are busy, distracted, on their phones, talking, texting, not aware of their surroundings – some don’t want to notice. Pay attention to what is going on around you.
  2. Interpret It as a Problem: Sometimes it is hard to tell if someone is in need of help. Err on the side of caution and investigate. Don’t be sidetracked by ambiguity, conformity or peer pressure. 
  3. Assume Personal Responsibility: If not you, then who? Do not assume someone else will do something. Have the courage and confidence to BE THE FIRST!
  4. Know How to Help: NEVER put yourself in harm’s way but DO SOMETHING! Help can be direct or indirect. 
  5. Implement the Help – Act!

If not you, then who? Research shows that if you are alone you will help 80% of the time, but if you are in a  group you will help only 20% of the time because of the diffusion of responsibility-you think someone else will do something.  


Emergency vs Non-Emergency

There will be situations where time will be on your side and you be able to think through your response. However, there may be other circumstances where you find yourself in a situation in which you will simply have to react. Visit RAINN’s Bystander Intervention page for additional information. 

Emergency Situations

Non-Emergency Situations


Communication Styles

We each have different personalities, which means we might come at intervention in different ways. If you tend to be a mild-mannered, soft spoken, trustworthy person, you might be the perfect person to have a serious conversation with a friend about their mental health or the problems in their life. If you’re chatty, sociable, and the life of the party, you might have great skills to step in when a social situation gets out of hand and a fight is brewing. You can always ask for help from a friend whose personality might suit the situation better than yours does. 


Risk Reduction

NECC recognizes that only those who commit sexual violence are responsible for those action. Victims of sexual assault or harassment are not to blame. While you can never completely protect yourself from sexual assault, these are some tips to help reduce your risk of being assaulted:

If someone is pressuring you and you need to get out of an uncomfortable situation:

If you are a victim of a sexual assault:

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