A new approach
Stand by Me is our latest project, which aims to tackle bystander apathy and empower people to assist those who are victims of bullying, harassment or hate crime through bystander interventions. The need for such an initiative in Nottingham is greater than ever. Following the EU referendum, Nottinghamshire reported the 2nd highest spike in hate crimes in the UK, with 75% more hate crimes recorded in the three months following the referendum when compared to the three months that preceded. This unprecedented rise in hate crime brought to the surface unspoken tensions between and within communities, some of which have existed for a long time. The post referendum era has seen certain people feeling more confident in expressing their prejudice and intolerance.
With Stand by Me, we want to rethink how hate crimes and incidents are addressed. In times when hate crimes are soaring and public sector agencies are facing serious cuts throughout the country, we have to change our perspective on how such behaviour can be challenged.
Stand by Me is delivered in partnership with Base 51, Vernon Community College and Nottingham Muslim Women’s Network and it is funded by the Google Innovation Fund which is administered by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.
What is a bystander?
A bystander is a person present in a situation where others needs help, but chooses not to act. If they would choose to intervene, they could often de-escalate the situation. Lack of information on safe intervention, bystander apathy, and diffusion of responsibility make people less likely to help.
“If a bystander intervenes within 10 seconds, 50% of the time the incident stops or de-escalates.” (Craig & Pepler 1997)
Recent research into the Somali community’s experience of hate crime indicates that although incidents are unpleasant and hurtful, what victims find more distressing is the fact that those who witness the incident often take no action.
A lot of hate crimes take place in public places, where bystanders are present. Their intervention could make a big difference to the situation. Often people do not know how to act or intervene safely, however, armed with some basic information, bystanders can make a difference without putting themselves at risk.
Stand by Me champions safe, easy, and indirect bystander interventions that can be put into action by anyone when a hate incident takes place. Bystander interventions offer a practical way of disrupting and countering hate incidents, and supporting victims. They also send a message to perpetrators that such behavior is unacceptable and will be challenged.
Bystander Intervention Ambassadors
We want to harness the power of the bystander to provide alternative ways of responding to hate crime. We will recruit 35 community Bystander Intervention Ambassadors. They will be trained to understand more about the role bystanders can play and difference they can make. They will then cascade their learning to raise awareness about safe bystander interventions in the wider community.
Our ambassadors will receive extensive training and will be supported throughout the project by our partners. Are you interested in becoming an ambassador? Download our application pack.