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Campus Life & Inclusive Excellence

Health & Counseling Center

Gender Violence Prevention and Education

Active Bystander

When someone interrupts a problematic or potentially harmful situation, stopping action or comments that promote sexual or discriminatory violence, bullying, harassment, intimidation, or threatening behavior - they are being an active bystander. An active bystander also takes action when they see someone who is intoxicated and in need of help, or may even be in emotional distress. Being an active bystander is about challenging and changing the cultural norms that make problematic or harmful behavior acceptable.

At DU, we intervene when we see a community member in need of support or when a situation does not fit our values. Intervention is not one size fits all. You can select an intervention style that works for you:

  • Be Direct- you feel comfortable acting as the primary helper
  • Be Indirect- you create a distraction or other interruption to halt the potentially harmful situation
  • Refer- you request assistance from a qualified resource such as Campus Safety, Denver Police, Title IX, or Pioneers CARE
  • Delay your intervention for when addressing the behavior is more appropriate- you may not feel comfortable saying something in the moment, so you follow up with the person within 24 hours to address things like harmful jokes, comments, or catcalling. Note that you should not delay when responding to a high risk situation like intoxication or sexual assault.

Attend a training and build your active bystander skills. You can also request a training if you think your team, club, class, organization, or department would benefit from an Intervene: DU training. Submit a request here! Intervene: DU training is available to all DU community members. Please note that all incoming, first year students are required to attend an Intervene: DU training. Learn more about the requirement and how to sign up here.