The University of Worcester Bystander Intervention Programme
Sexual harassment, assault and domestic abuse continues to be a significant problem across university campuses (NUS, 2020; Labhardt et al, 2017). Bystander Intervention training offers an evidence-based approach to tackling this issue by showing participants how to identify problematic behaviour and intervene to change it. The important thing is not what we do we see problematic behaviour, but that we do something.
History and aims
The University of Worcester’s Bystander Intervention programme has been running since 2016, and aims to train University of Worcester students to recognise problematic behaviour, violence and abuse, and to feel confident to intervene. The programme takes eight hours and covers bystander theory, gender, domestic violence, sexual violence, as consent as well as developing strategies to intervene in a safe and effective way.
Sessions provide theoretical knowledge about the nature of violence and abuse, and highlights possible signs of problematic behaviour. Barriers to intervention (such as diffusion of responsibility and pluralistic ignorance) are explored and the role of active bystanders considered in depth.
Victim blaming myths are discussed and dispelled, and students are trained in how to best respond to someone making a disclosure. Students are taught how to spot potentially problematic behaviours, and do something to help, from supporting victims to make a report to having a conversation with a friend whose behaviour they are uncomfortable with.
Participants are given the opportunity to practice their new skills through case studies, role play and reflection questions.
By offering this programme to all University of Worcester students, we aim to develop a safe, positive campus community where there is a clear message that violence and abuse will not be tolerated.
Some of the positive feedback we have received for the UW Bystander Programme:
- A very insightful and informative programme that is eye opening. This course needs to be mandatory for all university students!
- It was absolutely brilliant that such a taboo subject is now being discussed a lot more in order to create a safer environment.
- I now feel confident that I can be an active bystander on campus as well as outside the context of a student in daily life more broadly.
- Brilliant programme, I think all uni students and staff should have to take part!
- The programme was informative, insightful and relevant. I would recommend it to everyone I know as such important issues are discussed in a clear and accessible way. It has encouraged me to be an active bystander.
- I appreciated the openness and recognition that domestic violence and sexual violence can happen in any relationship between any people - inclusivity was carried throughout.
- I would recommend to anyone. I honestly think it's something that should be considered mandatory.
- Thank you to the University for recognising that this is important.
- I really enjoyed taking part in this course as it was an eyeopener to the extent the crime takes place and it was really really interesting! I think everyone should take part in this course.
Futher information about the programme is available
The UW Bystander Intervention programme is led by Dr Gillian Harrop, Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology.
If you have any questions or would like further information about the programme, please email firstname.lastname@example.org