Bystander Empowerment


You can do something

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.

Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean it’s simple to step-in. In fact, part of our role as active bystanders is supporting our fellow community members who do step-in. This can include acknowledging how difficult it can be and working together to come up with a plan for how to offer support to a student in need. Together, we can do something. 

Arizona State University is committed to creating environments in which all Sun Devils can thrive. Due to an ever-expanding engagement in virtual platforms, this commitment must include our online and virtual communities. Creating a space in which all Sun Devils can thrive means working together as empowered community members within our in-person and online communities to prevent sexual and relationship violence.

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students walking

Identity and intervening

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.

Peers talking


Safety should always be of the greatest importance, in both in-person and virtual environments, when deciding whether 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 and contact emergency services when appropriate.

person walking at night on campus

Four D's of Bystander Empowerment

Sometimes, people do not intervene because they do not know how to or do not feel confident enough to do so. The different strategies below can be used to intervene in situations where someone may need help. Before intervening, always consider your personal safety. If you do not feel safe or fear for the safety of others, contact emergency services immediately.

Initially, it may seem tricky to act as an empowered bystander within online environments, but the same principles of intervention apply to our virtual world. It is often the format of communication that needs to change. This may mean communicating via direct message, text message, email, video chat, phone call, commenting on social media content and more. 


The Four D's of Bystander Empowerment

Visit our education page to continue expanding your knowledge.