Bystander Intervention Training

Most Miners STEP UP!

STEP UP! is founded on the principles that most problems happen in group settings, most people will be a situation in which they can help in the future, and peers are usually in the best position to help. STEP UP! is a two-hour training session. The first hour teaches participants the five steps to intervention, as well as different styles of intervention. The second hour allows the participants to apply the skills they have just learned by practicing intervening in a variety of problematic scenarios.

Bystander Effect is a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases in which individuals do not offer any means of help to a victim when other people are present. The probability of help is inversely related to the number of bystanders. In other words, the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help.

The barriers listed help explain why the bystander effect occurs. In other words, these are the phenomenon that one must be aware of so that they can be overcome.

• Ambiguity – when it is uncertain whether there is a problem or not. The more unfamiliar and ambiguous a situation, the less likely help will be offered by a bystander. This is why we must investigate.
• Diffusion of responsibility – you may be truly concerned and want to help but think someone else will do something because they are more likely or qualified to help.
• Obedience to perceived authority – you do something because perceived authority figure tells you to.
• Conformity – a tendency to align behaviors and beliefs with those around you.
• Normative influence – you go along with the group to fit in, to be liked, or to be accepted by the group.
• Pluralistic ignorance – the majority know there is something wrong but no one else looks concerned so you think you must be the only one and thus you don’t do anything.
• Informational influence – when you think someone knows more than you do, or has more information than you, you will follow their lead.


When you see something, DO SOMETHING.

When you hear something, SAY SOMETHING.

...when someone jokes about sexual assault

...when someone is pressuring or encouraging drinking and hooking up

...when it seems like someone is trying to have sex without their partner's consent

...when someone is getting ready to have sex with an intoxicated person

Sex without consent IS sexual assault.


You are walking by the elevator late at night and notice a male and female resident by the elevator holding the door open. The male is repeatedly asking the female, who is visibly intoxicated, if he can come up to her room. Despite her refusal, he will not stop asking or allow the elevator to ascend. 

Action Steps

  1. Confront people who seclude, hit on, try to make out with, or have sex with people who are incapacitated.
  2. Speak up when someone discusses plans to take sexual advantage of another person.
  3. Call police when a person is yelling at another and it is not safe for you to interrupt.
  4. Refuse to leave the area (or call police) if a person is trying to get you to leave so they can take advantage of another.
  5. Speak up when people use racist, sexist, homophobic or other harmful language.
  6. Ensure friends who are incapacitated do not leave the party or go to secluded places with another person.

You are at a party with lots of friends. After several hours, you’re talking with the host of the party when some others come up and want her to go buy some more beer. She is clearly intoxicated and doesn’t want to go but a couple people start hassling her. She finally gives in and goes to get her keys. What do you do?

Action Steps


  1. Plan ahead – set a limit BEFORE going out.
  2. Encourage them to stop drinking (or take their drink away) when they’ve had enough.
  3. Stay with them to ensure they will be all right.
  4. Get them to consume non-alcoholic beverages first.
  5. Get them to sip rather than gulp if they are drinking alcohol.
  6. Have them consume food while drinking alcoholic beverages.
  7. Tell them not to drink while taking medication.
  8. Tell them to avoid taking aspirin if they have been drinking. (DO NOT take Tylenol or other Acetaminophen medication for a hangover; liver damage may result!)
  9. Never discuss problematic behavior when the person is under the influence.

A friend pushes and then slaps his girlfriend at a party. Other people see it and are upset but don’t do anything.  He’s not a very close friend, but someone you’ve taken several courses with and have had cordial discussions. What do you do?

Action Steps

  1. If someone you know is being cyberstalked, tell them.
  2. If the violence gets physical, call 911 right away!
  3. Encourage anyone in an abusive relationship to seek professional help.
  4. Do not touch the individuals no matter how well you may know them.
  5. Be aware of your tone of voice and volume. Stay calm.
  6. Be respectful of both individuals and their viewpoints.

You are hanging out with teammates and one of them makes a very insulting and derogatory remark about someone’s alleged sexual orientation. They go on to sarcastically say that they definitely won’t be rooming with them on road trips.
You find it inappropriate. What do you do?

Action Steps

  1. Be Ready – You know at some point you will hear or see something that is inappropriate or discriminatory. Think of yourself as the one to Step UP!, prepare yourself for it and know what you will say. “Why do you say that?” or “Do you really mean what you just said?”
  2. Identify the Behavior – Point out someone’s behavior to help them hear what they are really saying. “So, what I hear you saying is that all student-athletes don’t care about academics?”
  3. Appeal to Principles – Call on a person’s higher principles. “I’ve always thought you were fair-minded. It shocks me to hear you say something so biased.”
  4. Set Limits: Draw a Line – You can’t control others but you can make others aware of what you will not tolerate. “Don’t tell racist jokes or use that language in my presence anymore. If you do, I will leave.” Follow through.
  5. Find an Ally/Be an Ally – Seek out like-minded people and build strength in numbers.

Bystander Intervention Strategies

In a situation that involves more than one person, you can distract one or both people involved. In a fight, this can allow people to cool off, and in cases of sexual violence, it can create an opportunity for the potential victim to get away. Distraction can also be useful for talking to friends with mental health concerns, in addition to encouraging them to seek professional help. The goal of distraction is to interrupt the harmful behavior, not necessarily to confront it.


If you need to gather more information from an outside source, or if you feel like you missed an opportunity to intervene, you can also use a delayed response, such as following up and asking if someone is okay after the fact. The important thing is to show you fellow students that you care and are there to support them.

You can be direct when confronting a situation where someone else is being harmed or at risk of being harmed. In the case of witnessing a fight, the direct approach might involve asking the students who were fighting if everything is alright or asking the other students in the room if they are as uncomfortable with the situation as you were.

You can delegate the task by looking for people to back you up when it is time to intervene. Depending on the situation, that could mean asking for help from fellow party goers when you witness a fight or see sexual violence, or letting your RA know that you have a housemate who is depressed or struggling with eating concerns. Delegating is great because it can create a shared sense of responsibility among community members.

STEP UP! Examples

Bystander Intervention

What happens if you don't intervene? What happens if you do?

Awareness Test

How aware are you?