Skip to content Skip to navigation

Bystander Intervention

To get a friend of mine out of a bad situation/bystander intervention.

The following information is based on Bystander Intervention research being done at the University of New Hampshire and the guidelines developed by UNH. ("Bringing in the Bystander®" is a registered trademark of the University of New Hampshire on behalf of Prevention Innovations...

1. Some simple steps to becoming an Active Bystander:

  • Notice the situation: Be aware of your surroundings.

  • Interpret it as a problem: Do I recognize that someone needs help?

  • Feel responsible to act: See yourself as being part of the solution to help.

  • Know what to do: Educate yourself on what to do.

  • Intervene safely: Take action but be sure to keep yourself safe (see next step).

2. How to Intervene Safely:

  • Tell another person. Being with others is a good idea when a situation looks dangerous.

  • Ask person(s) you are worried about if they are okay. Provide options and a listening ear.

  • Distract or redirect individuals in unsafe situations.

  • Ask the person(s) if they want to leave. Make sure that they get home safely.

  • Call the police (911) or someone else in authority or yell for help.

3. What can my friends and I do to be safe?

  • Take care of each other. Remember these tips when you are out.

  • Have a plan.

  • Talk with your friends about your plans BEFORE you go out. Do you feel like drinking? Are you interested in hooking up? Where do you want to go? Having a clear plan ahead of time helps friends look after one another.

  • Go out together.

  • Go out as a group and come home as a group; never separate and never leave your friend(s) behind.

  • Watch out for others.

  • If you are walking at night with friends and notice a student walking alone in the same direction, ask the person to join you so no one is alone.

  • Diffuse situations.

  • If you see a friend coming on too strong to someone who may be too drunk to make a consensual decision, interrupt, distract, or redirect the situation.  If you are too embarrassed or shy to speak out, get someone else to step in.

  • Trust your instincts.

If a situation or person doesn’t seem “right” to you, trust your gut and remove yourself, if possible, from the situation.