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Be an Active Bystander

Sometimes, a situation just does not feel right. It might be comments made by a friend that you feel are inappropriate; you might be worried about someone who has had too much to drink or you spot someone being harassed at a party or club.

Being an active bystander means being aware when someone’s behaviour is inappropriate or threatening and choosing to challenge it. If you do not feel comfortable doing this directly, then get someone to help you such as a friend or venue security staff.

Research shows that bystander intervention can be an effective way of stopping sexual assault before it happens, as bystanders play a key role in preventing, discouraging, and/or intervening when an act of violence has the potential to occur. 

Say something

Challenge inappropriate behaviour:

Straight away –  if you can address the situation straight away without putting yourself at risk, then act now 

Polite – be polite. Don’t aggravate the situation- so think about your tone of voice, body language, how you address people. Remain calm and state why something has offended you

Evidence – stick to exactly what has happened, don’t exaggerate 

Avoid confrontation – if the situation is too dangerous to challenge then and there (such as there is the threat of violence or you are outnumbered) just walk away

Know who to speak to – In urgent situations always contact 999 without delay. If you feel unsure what to do next you can speak to your Personal Tutor, DMU Security or arrange an appointment to speak to a Mandala responder via

How you could help

1. Be Direct: If it is safe to do so let people know that their actions or language are unacceptable. If you know them, use statements that name the behaviour and how you feel: “I feel ____ when you ____ . Please don’t do that any more.” Or “Do you think that is acceptable?” Let them know the consequences of their behaviour.

2. Distract: Interrupt, start a conversation with the person to allow their potential target to move away or have friends intervene

3. Delegate: If you spot a situation which worries you, find someone to help such as venue security staff. Always call 999 if you need urgent assistance.

Student training sessions

The Mandala Project and DMU Sport have collaborated to develop an Active Bystander training session. This project was nominated for a Take a Stand award in 2019. If you’d like more information about this session email us via DSU also offer training and support to their clubs and societies. Find out more via

How can I help?

If a friend needs support, let them know about The Mandala Project. You can support the project though the development of campaigns, events and training opportunities for fellow students such as our annual ‘Light the Night’ event. Follow us on twitter to find out more @dmu_mandala