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Office of Sexual Assault & Violence Prevention

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Bystander Intervention

The Office of Sexual Assault & Violence Prevention provides support, advocacy, education, training, and prevention programs and services to University of Maine students, community and  wider community in our area. Part of this is done by educating the community of students and staff on how to react to specific situations. Whether it is healthy relationships or stalking, we want to promote a campus of individuals who will use their best judgment to aide in situations if they are deemed safe for intervention.

Bystander intervention has been promoted through OSAVP in a variety of ways. Specifically, this training focuses on what precautions and what should happen  in a situation where someone may need to take action.

Bystander Intervention Model & Tips

1. Notices the Incident

Bystanders first must notice the incident taking place. Obviously, if they don’t take note of the situation there is no reason to help.

2. Interpret incident as emergency

Bystanders also need to evaluate the situation and determine whether it is an emergency—or at least one in which someone needs assistance. Again, if people do not interpret a situation as one in which someone needs assistance, then there is no need to provide help.

3. Assume Responsibility

Another decision bystanders make is whether they should assume responsibility for giving help. One repeated finding in research studies on helping is that a bystander is less likely to help if there are other bystanders present. When other bystanders are present responsibility for helping is diffused. If a lone bystander is present he or she is more likely to assume responsibility.

4. Attempts to Help (See Tips for Intervening and Bystander Playbook below)

Whether this is to help the person leave the situation, confront a behavior, diffuse a situation, or call for other support/security.

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

Tips for Intervening

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



Contact Information

Office of Sexual Assault & Violence Prevention
5748 Memorial Union
Orono, Maine 04469
Phone: (207) 581-1406 | Fax: (207) 581-4215E-mail:
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469