Bystander Intervention-Step UP!

What Is a Bystander?

All of us are bystanders when we observe actions or situations that jeopardize someone’s safety or well-being. One way to create a safe and healthy community is to be a prosocial bystander by taking action to help others. Being a prosocial bystander means being aware of what's happening around you and learning how to step in safely or seek help from others.

How Can I Intervene?

Stepping in can look like a lot of different things:

  • telling a friend that you find their language offensive
  • leaving a party early with a friend who is intoxicated to make sure they arrive home safely
  • asking someone to go to the bathroom together so you can check in

Step UP! Bystander Intervention teaches five basic steps:

  1. Notice the event
  2. Interpret the situation as a problem
  3. Assume personal responsibility
  4. Know how to help
  5. Step up!

Tips for Intervening Safely

  • Consider which intervention style is best:
    • Direct—directly interacting with the people involved
    • Indirect—asking others to intervene on your behalf, such as calling 911
    • Distract—creating a diversion to diffuse the situation
  • Be aware of safety; never put yourself in harm's way.
  • Intervene early, if you can, before the problem becomes a crisis.
  • Remain calm while gathering information and providing the support you can.

Request a Workshop

Students who want to book a program for their group, organization, or community, should submit a Workshop Request Form. Faculty and staff can submit a request by emailing svrprevention@columbia.edu.