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.
- 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