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national bystander awareness day

Helping victims of hate




National Bystander Awareness Day aims to raise awareness of safe and simple ways you can intervene in hate incidents. We aim to promote safe and simple interventions that can support victims, send messages to offenders that their behaviour will not be tolerated and increase the reporting of hate crimes and incidents.

If a bystander intervenes within 10 seconds, 50% of the time the incident stops or de-escalates.
–  Craig & Pepler 1997

Why National Bystander Awareness Day?

Since the vote to leave the European Union, the UK has experienced the highest levels of hate crime since records began. When hate crimes take place there are often bystanders present. They can make a big difference in the situation but often do not know how to act or intervene safely and are often concerned about their own safety. However, armed with some basic information, bystanders can make a difference without putting themselves at risk. Bystander interventions offer a practical way of disrupting and countering hate crime and starting to change the way offenders behave. This is particularly the case when most hate-motivated situations occur in public spaces and consist mainly of harassment, intimidation and name calling.

Where does the name come from?

On March 13th 1964, Kitty Genovese, a 28-year-old bar manager was stabbed, raped and killed. She was on her way back from work in the early morning in Queens, New York just yards away from her apartment. Newspaper reports later suggested that up to 38 people witnessed the event, which lasted over half an hour and failed to call the police for help. One man, viewing the murder from his third-floor apartment window, stated later that he rushed to turned up his radio so he wouldn’t hear the woman’s screams. Others thought it was a lovers’ quarrel, were afraid or too tired.

US Researchers John M. Darley and Bibb Latané became interested in the behaviour of witnesses and coined the terms bystander and ‘bystander effect’ following the case of Kitty Genovese.



A person who is present in a situation where others need help but chooses not to act. Lack of information on safe interventions, bystander apathy, and diffusion of responsibility make people less likely to help.

Bystander Effect:

A social phenomenon where the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation. The greater the number of bystanders, the less likely that any one of them will intervene.


1. Watch, be a witness, don’t turn away as it gives the message to the offender that their behaviour is normal and acceptable.

2. Observe and pay attention to what is happening, the description of the offender, where you are, what time it is etc. Once you are in a safe space you can then report the incident as a witness (see the different ways you can report on our Hate Crime Reporting Page
1. Inform security, staff or other people that might be able to help. You can also ask other people nearby for help to intervene.

2. Once you are in a safe space you can then report the incident as a witness directly to the Police. In case of emergency always
call 999. You can find other ways to report in this guide.
Check in with the victim if possible, even if it's after the incident.

- Check if the victim is OK.
- Ask if they need you to call anyone for them.
- Let them know of support services available
and how they can report incidents
Listen to the stories of people living in Nottingham.
Zaynab's Story
Clint's Story
Eddie's Story
Diane's Story
Sarah's Story
Kat's Story
Jonathan's Story
Why are bystander interventions important in tackling hate crime?

Events 2019

Awareness Sessions

We will be in a number of locations to circulate information about safe bystander interventions you can make if you witness a hate incident. Join us for a coffee and a chat.

6th March, 2.00 - 4.00 PM at Nottingham Train Station:
Join us and British Transport Police to discuss hate crime on public transport

12th March 11.00-3.00pm Nottingham City Centre
Find us on Clumber Street to learn more about bystander interventions. We will be joined by Nottinghamshire Police.

13th March Nottingham Trent University, Newton Building
A group of sociology students are delivering our social campaign at NTU. Join them in the Newton Building to show your support.

Free Screening of The Witness (2016) at Nottingham Contemporary

For this year's National Bystander Awareness Day, we are organising a free screening of The Witness (2016) together with Nottingham Contemporary. 11th March, at 6.00 pm.

Badge making workshop at New Art Exchange

Join us at New Art Exchange and create your own National Bystander Awareness Day badge. 13th March, 12.00 -15.00

National Bystander Awareness Day is supported by: