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Bystander Intervention Resources

Last Update: March 2, 2020

This online resource collection offers advocates and preventionists information and resources on bystander intervention. It includes resources to use with community members, as well as information and research on the effectiveness of bystander intervention.

This is not a comprehensive list of all of the materials related to sexual violence and the bystander intervention; however, these materials are all available online. Check out the top resources on bystander intervention in the NSVRC library.Please contact us if you require additional assistance.

This 4 part collection was developed for use by advocates, preventionists, and community members. The parts of the collection are listed below:

Background and General Information
NSVRC Publications and Resources
Online Learning Opportunities
Campaigns and Programs

This collection supports the NSVRC Engaging Bystanders to Prevent Sexual Violence Information Packet.

Background and General Information

This section provides background and general information on the bystander approach to sexual violence. Advocates, preventionists, and community members can use these resources to learn about bystander intervention and how it is an effective approach to preventing sexual violence.

Bystanders: Agents of Primary Prevention (16 p.) by Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs (2010). This newsletter is entirely devoted to the bystander intervention approach to primary prevention and explores various campaigns.

Research on Bystander Programs Highlighted in Journal (webpage) by David Lee (2011). This webpost discusses research on bystander intervention programs. Listen to the accompanying podcast of the article.

Bystander Approaches: Responding to and Preventing Men’s Violence Against Women (20 p.) by Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault (2014). This article discusses the bystander approach to sexual violence prevention, an overview of successful programs and best practices, and includes a discussion of challenges to implementing a program.

Encourage. Support. Act! Bystander Approaches to Sexual Harassment in the Workplace (29 p.) by Paula McDonlad & Michael Flood (2012). This report discusses how the bystander approach can be used to combat sexual harassment in the workplace.

Stop Sexual Violence: A Sexual Violence Bystander Intervention Toolkit (36 p.) by New York State Department of Health (2013). This toolkit describes the bystander approach and provides information on engaging with different populations such as youth, men, and women. An extensive list of resources and bystander campaigns is also available.

Moving Beyond Individual Level Bystander Intervention Strategies: Why & How? (2 p.) by Hannah Larson, Jennifer Rauhouse & Shana Tobkin (2011). Through work with the STAND & SERVE initiative, these preventionists discuss making bystander intervention an action-oriented approach to prevention.

A Different World is Possible: Promising Practices to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls (66 p.) By María Baños Smith (2011). This report discusses 15 innovative case studies of promising prevention programs in the United Kingdom. Programs highlighted include workshops with boys, programs working with drama groups and girls at risk, and training bystanders to intervene to challenge the attitudes of their peers.

Sexual Violence Prevention Through Bystander Education: An experimental evaluation (19 p.) by Victoria L. Banyard, Mary M Moynihan, and Elizabethe G. Plante (2007). This research article presents the results of a study evaluating the effectiveness of a bystander education program. The study found that both men and women who participated showed positive changes in behaviors over time.

NSVRC Publications and Resources

The following are resources produced by the NSVRC.

Media Packet: Engaging Bystanders (2p.) by NSVRC (2015). This fact sheet is a part of the Media Packet for journalists on the basics of bystander intervention. Practical examples are also included.

Engaging Bystanders in Sexual Violence Prevention (56 p.) by Joan Tabachnick (2009). This booklet provides background information on the bystander intervention approach and serves as a training resource by providing activities and trainer instructions. Also available, an interview conducted in Spanish on culturally relevant prevention to compliment the Spanish version of the booklet.    

Engaging Bystanders to Prevent Sexual Violence: A Guide for Preventionists (44 p.) by Jennifer Benner (2013). This guide is intended to help support advocates and preventionists in creating and sustaining bystander intervention programs in their communities. This guide highlights six program and their unique approach to bystander intervention and provides lessons learned This guide is a part of the Engaging Bystanders to Prevention Sexual Violence Information Packet.

Engaging Bystanders to Prevent Sexual Violence: Bulletin (8 p.) (2013). This bulletin provides community members with tips on how to intervene to prevent sexual violence, examples of bystander intervention, and a list of resources. This bulletin is a part of the Engaging Bystanders to Prevention Sexual Violence Information Packet.

Engaging Bystanders to Prevent Sexual Violence: Resource List (4 p.) (2013). This resource list provides advocates and preventonists important resources to use when working in their communities and with community partners to develop, implement and sustain bystander intervention programs.   There are publications, websites, mobile apps, Spanish language resources and training tools listed. This resource list is a part of the Engaging Bystanders to Prevention Sexual Violence Information Packet.

Engaging Bystanders to Prevent Sexual Violence: Overview (4 p.) by Mary Moynihan (2013). This document provides an overview of bystander intervention, including key features and successful bystander education prevention programs. This overview is a part of the Engaging Bystanders to Prevention Sexual Violence Information Packet.

Engaging Bystanders to Prevent Sexual Violence: Annotated Bibliography (8 p.) (2013). This document features research articles, books, and presentation materials on bystander intervention theory and programs in various settings. This annotated bibliography is a part of the Engaging Bystanders to Prevention Sexual Violence Information Packet.

Engaging Bystanders to Prevent Sexual Violence: Research Brief (16 p.) (2013). The research reviewed in this brief provides insight into the mobilization of bystander behavior. Each study includes an application section, which provides advocates and preventionists information about how they can use this study in their work. This research brief is a part of the Engaging Bystanders to Prevention Sexual Violence Information Packet.

xCHANGE Forum: Engaging Bystanders Together (online forum archive 2011). This xCHANGE was moderated by Dr. Victoria Banyard in April 2011. It included real-time and follow-up discussions on promising practices, new resources, and next steps for researchers and practitioners.

Bystander Resources (webpage). These online resources compiled as part of the 2010 Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) campaign, focusing on bystander intervention. Among other resources, there are multiple scenario’s available advocates and preventionists can use in their work within their community.

Penn State: The Mother of all Teachable Moments (commentary) by Jackson Katz (2011). In this three part series written for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, Katz discusses the importance of bystander intervention reflecting on the Penn State sexual abuse scandal and calls for action moving forward. Also see NSVRC’s response to the Sandusky trial.

SAAM 2011 Playlist (videos)(2011). In response to the 2011 SAAM campaign theme, “It’s time…to get! Involved,” programs and individuals, submitted videos for the NSVRC YouTube playlist. Many encourage taking action, getting involved, and engaging in prevention within their home communities.

Letters to an Engaged Bystander (blog). Joan Tabachnick served as a guest blogger, writing a series of blogs on bystander intervetion for the NSVRC after completing the publication Engaging Bystanders in Sexual Violence Prevention.

Online Learning Opportunities

There are many online learning tools and opportunities to learn about the bystander approach. This section lists a selection of the many tools available.

Bystander Intervention: Focusing on Social Justice (recorded webinar) by PreventConnect. In this 1.5 hour long recorded webinar presenters discussed bystander intervention strategies and how social justice is linked to this work.

PreventConnect Wiki on Bystander Intervention (webpage) A user generated web site with information about developing, implementing and evaluating bystander intervention efforts.

Changing Perceptions of Sexual Violence Over Time, an Interview with Karen Baker (podcast) by Karen Baker, for VAWnet, (2012). On this podcast, Karen Baker, the director of the NSVRC and the advocate consultant for the VAWnet Applied Research Paper titled Changing Perceptions of Sexual Violence Over Time, discusses her reflections on the content of the paper.

Beyond Bystander Intervention: Addressing Power-Based Violence and Rape Culture on the College Campus (podcast) by Vickie Sides, Rachel Caidor and Sari Lipsett for PreventConnect (2014). (19 min) This podcast reflects on the session entitled Beyond bystander intervention: Addressing power-based violence and rape culture on the college campus held at the 2013 National Sexual Assault Conference. This podcast discusses moving the conversation beyond individual change behavior models to models that engage intervention more broadly.

Interview with Joan Tabachnick on Engaging Bystanders in Sexual Violence Prevention (podcast) by Joan Tabachnick for PreventConnect (2010). (11 min) In this interview, Joan Tabachnick talks about Engaging Bystanders in Sexual Violence Prevention booklet she wrote for the NSVRC. She also talks about the practice of teaching bystanders to intervene, and about her role as the editor for the NSVRC’s Letters to an Engaged Bystander Blog

Engaging Bystanders in Sexual Violence Prevention (online course) by The New England Adolescent Research Institute Inc. (NEARI) (2011). This 1-2 hour online course was written by Joan Tabachnick and sponsored by the NSVRC is based on the NSVRC publication by the same name. The course provides the basics on how to engage friends and family in the prevention of sexual violence. A certificate of completion for one hour of coursework is available.

Podcast: Preventing Sexual Aggression Among College Men (podcast) by Christine Gidycz and Alan Berkowitz for Prevent Connect (2011). This 17 minute Prevent Connect podcast discusses the article, Preventing Sexual Aggression among College Men: An Evaluation of a Social Norms and Bystander Intervention Program, which appears in the June 2011 edition of the journal, Violence Against Women.

Active Bystanders: Interactive Scenarios (webpage) by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. These interactive bystander scenarios explore the consequences of various approaches in different situations based on user responses.

Step up! Train the Trainer Webinar: A Pro-social Behavior/Bystander Intervention Program for Student-Athletes (recorded webinar) by University of Arizona, C.A.T.S. Life Skills Program in partnership with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). This one-hour training familiarizes users with the STEP UP! program and provides tips and instructions on facilitating the a STEP UP! training. Please refer to the facilitator guide for more information, as well as step-by-step instructions. Also, see the related blog.

Bystander Intervention from Sweden (webpage) by PreventConnect (2012). Madnus Sjogren and Klas Hyllander from Sweden’s Men for Gender Equity discuss their work with bystander intervention programs to prevent gender-based violence. This interview was conducted at the Mentors in Violence Prevention Bystander Intervention Conference in Boston, Mass., held from May 31 to June 1, 2012.

Campaigns and Programs

There are many organizations and programs doing bystander work, below are some of those programs. Many of the programs highlighted in this section have online training materials and other resources available online.

Bringing in the Bystander Campaign (webpage) Using a bystander intervention approach combined with a research component, this program assumes that everyone has a role to play in prevention. The research component measures how effective the program is within different communities.

Circle of 6 (webpage) The Circle of 6 App won the White House Apps Against Abuse Challenge in 2011. Using a pre-programmed list of six close contacts and an icon system to call for help, assistance, or advice, this app offers a discreet way to reach out for bystander assistance.

Green Dot campaign (webpage). The Green Dot campaign is based on the idea that peer influence often predicts behavior. In instances of harmful or violent words, actions, or behaviors, each person has a choice to ignore or accept (a red dot) or intervene to address it (a green dot).

Hollaback!: I’ve got your back! (webpage) I’ve got your back! is the bystander intervention campaign by Hollaback! Hollaback! and Green Dot teamed up to create this campaign. It emphasizes use of digital and social media to help confront harassing and violent public behaviors. Also, see the PreventConnect interview I’ve Got Your Back: Bystander Intervention for Street Harassment and infographic How to intervene if you see harassment happening.

Know Your Power (webpage) by Prevention Innovations at the University of New Hampshire. The Know Your Power campaign is the social marketing component of Bringing in the Bystander. Information about the campaign, resources, checklist for engaged bystander actions and a store are available on the website. PreventConnect also blogged about this campaign and related research.

Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) (webpage). The MVP Program motivates men and women to work together in preventing men’s violence against women. The MVP bystander approach uses proactive, preventative behavior, and leadership rather than blame for the problems of gendered violence.

Step Up! Sexual Assault Bystander Intervention (webpage) by The University of Arizona. STEP UP! is a pro-social behavior and bystander intervention program that educates students to be proactive in helping others. The site includes scenarios, questions, definitions and considerations, action steps and resources.

Stop Street Harassment (webpage). This organization is dedicated to ending street harassment internationally. Their website has an online resource center for information on street harassment. Stop Street Harassment organizes the International Anti-Street Harassment Week.

That’s Not Cool (webpage) by Futures without Violence and the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, and the Ad Council. The site is geared towards teens with a focus on privacy, healthy communication, healthy relationships, and technology.

Virginia’s Red Flag Campaign (webpage). The Red Flag Campaign uses a bystander infused approach to increase public awareness of dating violence and promote the prevention of dating violence on college campuses.

Where Do You Stand? Campaign (webpage) by Men Can Stop Rape. This bystander intervention campaign is targeted to college males. The campaign portrays men as allies to ending violence against women. The website provides information, resources, and materials to use in a college campus. A guide is also available that teaches how to use the campaign to positively change the cultural dynamics of a campus.

White Ribbon Campaign (webpage). The White Ribbon Campaign is a movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and promote gender equality and healthy relationships. Started in Canada, this campaign is now in over 60 countries.  Notable resources include a toolkit for engaging men and a guidebook for teachers and community leaders on promoting healthy relationships.