New Green Dot Case Study


Dear Engaged Bystander:  The Department of Education’s Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Violence Prevention has released a new case study about the Green Dot Violence Prevention Strategy. A case study can provide teachers with an excellent teaching tool which encourages a student to explore in depth what a particular program or strategy offers.

For those who are not familiar with this program, the Green Dot Strategy was created at the University of Kentucky in 2006 based upon science with the idea that the program can instill renewed hope in the prevention of sexual violence. Since then, it has spread across 35 states in the United States and internationally through high schools, other colleges, rape crisis centers, military installations, church groups, and a broad range of community organizations.

According to Dorothy Edwards, the founder of Green Dot, “While there are clear indicators of what not to do, there is an absence of demonstrated effective prevention programming available within the violence against women literature.” Since 2006, Edwards has conducted a promising 2 year evaluation study and has begun a five-year, CDC-funded study in high schools across Kentucky, evaluating the impact of Green Dot.

What may be of particular interest is the overview the case study provides of the research around why people choose to intervene or not when faced with a possibly risky, dangerous or emergency situation. The bystander influences discussed in the case study include:

  • Diffusion of responsibility: when faced with a crisis situation, individuals are less likely to respond when more people are present because each assumes that someone else will handle it;
  •  Evaluation apprehension: when faced with a high-risk situation, individuals are reluctant to respond because they are afraid they will look foolish;
  • Pluralistic ignorance: when faced with an ambiguous, but potentially high-risk situation, individuals will defer to the cues of those around them when deciding whether to respond;
  • Confidence in skills: individuals are more likely to intervene in a high-risk situation when they feel confident in their ability to do so effectively; and
  • Modeling: individuals are more likely to intervene in a high-risk situation when they have seen someone else model it first.

According to this program, understanding bystander dynamics has created the opportunity to have a realistic conversation about the things that make it difficult for a bystander to intervene.  The Green Dot Strategy allow participants to generate realistic solutions that acknowledge the very real obstacles we each face when trying to respond to a situation responsibly. 

Click on these links for more information about Green Dot at the University of Kentucky or to learn more about the Green Dot Prevention Strategy.  

There is also a great case study about Bringing in the Bystander Program, but more on that one next time!