Bystander Intervention

The Seminary strongly encourages bystanders to “step up” on behalf of another person’s wellbeing and safety.  The reporting options listed in this policy are available for bystanders as well. There are also safe and positive options for bystanders who intervene during an incident in order to prevent harm when there was a risk or act of violence.  These options include:

Be aware of what is going on around you. Trust your instincts. Assume personal responsibility and say or do something – don’t assume that someone else will help.

Assess the situation. You have to decide what the safest way is for you and others involved to help. Gauge whether the situation requires calling authorities. When deciding to intervene, your personal safety should be the #1 priority. When in doubt, call for help. Other possible people to reach out to for assistance in helping are faculty, staff, supervisors, counselors, etc.

Decide whether to use direct or indirect action to resolve the problem. For example:

  • Direct Actions: Point out someone’s behavior in a manner that will help de-escalate the situation, talk to a friend to ensure he/she is okay, call the police.
  • Indirect Action: Make up an excuse to help someone get away from a potential offender, and call the local authorities.

Intervene – with reinforcements. If you gauge it is safe to intervene, you’re likely to have a greater influence on the parties involved when you work together with someone or several people. Your safety is increased when you stay with a group of friends that you know well.

  • Remember to intervene in a compassionate, non-threatening manner.
  • Be aware of available resources for assisting persons on campus and in the community.
  • Encourage them to seek assistance and offer them resources for assistance.

Remember, 911 is often the best way to intervene if there is a question of safety for anyone.