Overcoming Obstacles

Unfortunately, sometimes our thoughts about the situation or actions of others around us can influence our decision to intervene, deterring us from taking action. We can overcome this bystander effect to progress through each of the five stages of bystander intervention. Check-out the solutions to common bystander obstacles in the table below.


Bystander intervention strategies

Questions we ask ourselves


Intervention Solutions

Notice when a situation can lead to danger

“What’s going on?”

  • Not hearing/seeing what’s happening
  • Being focused on something I am doing
  • Worrying more about myself

Keep an eye out for your friends. They are counting on your help.

Identify when it’s appropriate to intervene

“Is this a big deal?”

  • Not knowing if it’s a problem
  • Not seeing anyone else do anything

There’s nothing wrong with just checking-in to make sure.

Recognize personal responsibility for intervening

“Do I need to do something?”

  • Thinking someone else will deal with it
  • Thinking people deserve it because of something they did

What if that was your loved one? Wouldn’t you want someone to help them?

Know how to intervene

“Can I get involved?”

  • Not knowing what to do
  • Not knowing what to say

Stay safe.

Create a distraction.

Get others to help.

Take action to intervene

“Will I intervene?”

  • Worrying my friends might get mad at me
  • Recognizing I don’t like confrontation

Try a distraction or delegate other to help so it is less obvious you are intervening.

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