Active Bystander – UCS Campus, Ipswich


We have been delighted recently to share our Programme Action with UCS Campus and in return they are giving us new opportunities.

Two of us went to an introduction to the course ‘Active Bystander’.  Some key points that emerged were:

  • The difference between an active and a passive bystander is that the former chooses to intervene whilst the latter is just a witness and does not get involved.
  • Apparently people are less likely to intervene when in a busy environment, assuming someone else will get involved, either taking no responsibility or they wait to see if someone else intervenes and then might assist.
  • There is evidence that the effect of sex, type of dress etc can make a large difference to the amount of time it takes for someone to stop and ask if they can help or intervene in some other way.
  • Process of intervention is interpreting the situation as a problem and deciding if they possess the necessary skills to act or simply call 999 if the situation demands it.  But being active also depends on it being perceived as ‘safe to do so’ and having a sense of responsibility
  • Non Intervention is determined more by audience inhibition and fear of retaliation together with Social views about the ‘victim’
  • Social issues relating to the Equality act include Bullying, Harrassment, Ageism, Homophobia, Discrimination, Violence, Sexism, Intolerance of Religion or Beliefs, Sexual Violence, Racism, Disability/Ability, Life-style Choice, Physical Characteristics.
  • And of course other situations where you have the opportunity to intervene are when someone appears or has been in an accident.
  • Strategies for being an Active Bystander can cover a range of behaviours from attempting to diffuse a situation to confrontation.
  • Diffusing a situation by shifting the focus creates a diversion, as does changing the subject and attempting to turn a negative in to a positive.
  • Confrontation can be saying why something you have witnessed is unacceptable, why it bothers you, what the consequences may be and a constructive way forward
  • It is suggested that you show interest in the offender as well as the ‘victim’, see if they understand your point of view, explore acceptable alternative behaviour, try to engage in an open way, using appropriate body language and humour.

If there are other course stages we will be invited.