Bystander action

Bystander Action is the most effective means of combating sexism, racism and homophobia but often people are reluctant to act, out of fear of being hurt, victimised, falling out of favour with friends or making matters worse.

Doing nothing does harm and even small actions can make a difference. If you sense or think something said or being done is not right, chances are you are correct and others around you probably feel the same. Trust your gut instinct!

Be an active bystander in person

Step 1: Notice and observe the situation and assess what is best to do while staying safe.

Step 2: Identify if there is a problem. If it is making you feel uncomfortable, chances are this is the same for others. Trust your instinct.

Step 3: Take responsibility, don’t wait for others.

Step 4. Decide how best to help, keeping the safety of yourself and others in mind.

Step 5. Have the confidence/capacity to help.

Step 6. Take action.

Check out the following video which demonstrates bystander action in practice:

Be an active bystander online

You can use the 4 Ds of bystander action face-to-face or online:

Direct Action: Where you step in directly to intervene.

Distraction: Where you indirectly intervene, de-escalate, change the subject or interrupt.

Delegation: Inform or report to someone in authority.

Delay: Support the victim after the event.

Check out this video on how to support others online:

Speak Up at La Trobe also has a Bystander Action Factsheet [PDF 288KB] to help you be an active bystander.

If you are concerned or have seen or received any kind of abuse contact our Speak Up service.

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