Bringing in the Bystander | Overview
- Uses a community of responsibility model to teach bystanders how to intervene safely and effectively in cases where sexual assault may be occurring or where there may be risk. Its main message is that “Everyone in the community has a role to play in ending sexual violence.”
- Based on founding work on bystander-focused prevention by Jackson Katz (Mentors in Violence Prevention program), Alan Berkowitz, and John Foubert (One in Four programs). The curriculum approaches both women and men as potential bystanders or witnesses to risky behaviors related to sexual violence around them.
- Conducted in groups with a team of one male and one female peer facilitator who provide an active learning environment for participants to learn about the role of active bystanders in communities, information about sexual violence and help participants learn and practice appropriate and safe prevention skills.
- Has been evaluated with both a short one-session curriculum and a longer multi-session version on the campus of the University of New Hampshire. Evaluation is ongoing and results demonstrate the efficacy of this program for increasing participants’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviors about effective responses to sexual violence.
- Develop skills for both direct and indirect intervention while keeping bystander’s own safety in mind.
- Increase knowledge and awareness of scope and causes of sexual violence.
- Increase sense of responsibility for creating change in one’s community related to sexual violence and commit to playing a role in decreasing sexual violence.
- Increase recognition of inappropriate behavior along the continuum of sexual and relationship violence and how to respond to it safely and appropriately.
Brief Description of Program Components
- Gradual introduction to the notion of bystander responsibility including examining issues relating to sense of community membership and participants’ own experiences with bystander behavior.
- Use of local community examples as much as possible including local statistics about the prevalence of sexual violence.
- Active learning exercises to raise awareness of the continuum of sexual violence, its causes and impact on victims.
- Discussion and practice of a range of active, potentially helpful bystander behaviors as well as the costs and benefits of different behaviors.
- Discussion of importance of personal safety and presentation of community resources.
- Bystander pledge to increase commitment to intervene.
- “ABC” card – Active Bystanders Care (Assess the situation. Be with others. Care for the victim) includes reminders of the decision-making process for intervening, lists several examples of ways to intervene and provides contact information for relevant resources.
Information compiled from Prevention Innovations resources and the Facilitator’s Guide, Bringing in the Bystander: A Prevention Workshop for Establishing a Community of Responsibility© (Plante, Banyard, Moynihan & Eckstein, revised 2008).