Active Bystander

When someone interrupts a problematic or potentially harmful situation, stopping actions or comments that constitute or promote sexual or discriminatory violence, bullying, harassment, intimidation, or threatening behavior, they are taking on the role of an active bystander. Active bystanders also take action when they see someone in need of help due to issues such as intoxication or emotional distress. Being an active bystander is about challenging and changing the cultural norms that make problematic or harmful behavior acceptable.

Intervention Styles

Intervention is not one size fits all. You can select an intervention style that works best for you, and for the situation at hand.

  • Direct – You feel comfortable acting as the primary helper.
  • Distract – You create a distraction or other interruption to halt the potentially harmful situation.
  • Delegate – You request assistance from a qualified resource such as Campus Safety, Denver Police, Title IX, or Student Outreach & Support.
  • Delay – You don't 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.

Intervene: DU Active Bystander Workshops

All incoming first-year and transfer undergraduate students are required to attend an Intervene: DU workshop, and returning students who are in Registered Student Organizations must attend a booster workshop annually. Learn more about the requirement and how to sign up here.

If you'd like to learn more, you can attend an Intervene: DU workshop to build your active bystander skills. You can also request a workshop if you think your team, club, class, organization, or department would benefit from learning more. Submit a request here.

Intervene: DU and GVPE programs are available to all DU community members.


Self Intervention

Sometimes we can intervene on our own behalf. In a situation that is uncomfortable, or is close to crossing a limit or boundary, you can select an intervention style that works for you and best fits the situation. Remember, your own safety is paramount. Whether or not you are able to intervene for yourself, you deserve help and support. Someone crossing a boundary is never your fault.