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Arizona State University is committed to cultivating a community of care where everyone contributes to a safe and healthy campus environment. Everyone has been in a situation where they helped someone in need, and everyone has been in a situation where they needed help and didn’t get it. The presence of individual leadership and shared responsibility is the key to a thriving community. Our positive actions, big and small, can create a community where all individuals feel safe and supported. You might not change the outcome of every situation every time, but believe in your ability to positively impact the lives of your peers and your community at large. You can do something.
If you notice a situation where someone needs help, but you are unsure if you should intervene or not, acknowledge any bias you may have about the situation. Identity often plays a role in whether or not someone will receive help, or whether or not someone will step in. Intervene to help a member of our community regardless of their race, ethnicity, ability status, gender-identity, or sexual orientation.
Safety should always be of greatest importance when deciding whether or not you are going to intervene in a situation. If you feel unsafe, or are concerned about the safety of someone else, seek help from others or call 911 if it is an emergency.
Often times people do not intervene because they do not know how or do not feel confident to do so. The different strategies below can be used to intervene in situations where someone may need help. Before intervening, also consider your personal safety. If you do not feel safe or fear for the safety of others, contact emergency services immediately.
Speak out! When safe, be direct to intervene in a situation where someone may be causing harm. This might look like saying, “I am not okay with what you just said.” or “Hey, please leave them alone.”
Step in! Interrupt a potentially unsafe or harmful situation by distracting either party. This might look like saying, “Hey, aren’t you in my class?” or “Who wants to go get tacos?”
Know your power! Delegate others to prevent a potentially dangerous or harmful situation. This might look like asking someone to check in on another person, asking them to call for help, or saying “Go call a Lyft!”
Check in! A delayed response is better than no response. If you didn’t intervene in the moment for safety or other reasons, connect with the person who may need support. You could say something like, “I saw what happened, are you okay?”
Here are some tips for intervening based on our “You can do something” poster series.