An active bystander is someone who not only witnesses a problematic situation, but takes steps to speak up or step in to disrupt the situation or keep it from escalating. By being an active, responsible bystander we can help the University create a safe and inclusive environment. It’s important we all speak out for a safer community.

When we witness behaviour that makes us uncomfortable, such as verbal, physical or sexual harassment, most of us want to do the right thing – make a positive intervention and say something to challenge that behaviour. But knowing what to do and feeling confident enough to step in can be difficult. The following are some easy tips to help you be a responsible, active bystander.

Check in

  • Be aware of situations around you
  • Directly ask the person involved if they're uncomfortable
  • See yourself as being part of the solution to help

Or distract

  • De-escalate the situation by changing the subject
  • Or by asking a question 'Hey, aren't you in my Friday tute?'

Or seek help

Then speak up

  • Talk to the person affected to make sure they are okay
  • Offer suggestions for seeking help, such as speaking with a counsellor or to Student Care
  • Let us know what happened by reporting the incident to Safer Campus

If necessary, seek assistance or advice by contacting Security Services on 8313 5990.

For behaviour that clearly presents a threat to the individual, students or staff members, use the Security Services emergency telephone number 8313 5444.

Check out the Line's handy how-to guide to stepping up against sexist behaviour.

If you want to do more to be part of the community against violence against women have a look at the national Respect campaign, and also check out the Rise Above the Pack initiative.