Title IX Student Services provides support, advocacy, education, training and prevention programs and services to University of Maine students, community and the wider community in our area. We aim to educate our community of students and staff on how to react to specific situations. We strive 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 is recognizing a potentially harmful situation or interaction and choosing to respond in a way that could positively influence the outcome.

Bystander Intervention Model

1. Notice 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 they are more likely to assume responsibility.

4. Attempt to Help (See Tips for Intervening)

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

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

(Source:  Sexual Assault and Violence Prevention at Vassar College)

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 information with friends
  • Confront friends who make excuses for other peoples’ abusive behavior
  • Speak up against racist, sexist and homophobic jokes or remarks