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Bystander Intervention Training

Bystander Intervention Training provides participants the opportunity to see themselves as potential Active Bystanders who can intervene when they are witness to abusive, isolating or stigmatizing behaviour. The training teaches them about pro-social behaviour, making them more aware of why they may be hesitant to intervene and encourages them to consider taking action in the future. The program focuses on behaviours relating to interpersonal violence (such as: abuse, bullying/hazing, physical violence, dating/relationship violence, and sexual violence) and signs of loneliness or emotional distress. 

From a community perspective, priming (Active) Bystanders to intervene when they see problematic situations can improve feelings of individual ability and effectiveness and encourages caring and support for others. Bystander Intervention Training provides an impetus for personal action and helps potential Active Bystanders to envision how they can be a part of improving our community in an everyday way.

What does Bystander Intervention look like?

Being an Active Bystander can be as simple as lending a helping hand. For example, helping an elderly person cross a busy intersection.

However, if you find yourself in a situation where you feel your assistance is warranted, here are five simple steps that might be helpful:

 You notice that something is happening: (Work through the ambiguity)

  • How do you feel about the situation (What do you think is going on)?
  • Assess the warning signs (e.g., medical emergency, physical altercation, emotional distress).

 You interpret the event as an emergency: (Assess the situation)

  • You assess whether a response is appropriate, as well as who should respond if help is required (e.g., you, or someone else (EMS))
  • You assess risk to yourself or others (if you do or do not respond)?

 You decide to take responsibility for providing help: (Assume responsibility)

  • You decide that you can respond (e.g., you know first-aid).
  • You decide to get help from someone/where else (e.g., Campus Security, 911).

 You decide how to help: (Explore options for helping)

  • You can call Campus Security/911 for help.
  • You can perform first-aid.

 Provide help: (Take action—Be an Active Bystander)

  • You provide first-aid.
  • You sit with the person until his/her ride comes.

For more information about the Bystander Intervention Training Program, please go to the Bystander Intervention website, www.ucalgary.ca/bystander, or contact bystander@ucalgary.ca.