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national bystander awareness day

Helping victims of hate


On March 13, we celebrate National Bystander Awareness Day - a day that unites people to tackle hate and hostility. We want to raise awareness of ways that you can help people who are made victims of hate.

It’s everyone’s responsibility to challenge hate. Take action now.

Brilliant Nottingham-based writers Shreya Sen Handley and Bridie Squires, will be reading poems they have written especially for NBAD, as well as some of their other recent fiction and poetry.

Bridie Squires

Bridie Squires is a writer, editor, performer and educator from Nottingham, UK. She is Editor at Large of LeftLion Magazine (previously Editor), was Nottingham Trent University's first Writer in Residence in 2019, and is Lead Artist at GOBS Collective - a spoken-word programme for emerging artists. Bridie has delivered performances in London's Southbank Centre, Karlsruhe's Staatstheatre, Nottingham Playhouse, and countless venues around the Midlands. In 2019, Bridie was awarded funding from Arts Council England to develop a full-length, one-woman performance: Casino Zero.

Shreya Sen Handley

With a new book of “profoundly unsettling and unusual” short stories, ‘Strange’, published by HarperCollins and described by the great Ruskin Bond as “masterful”, out in August 2019, Shreya Sen-Handley is writing a libretto for the Welsh National Opera, a travelogue for HarperCollins (her third book with them), illustrating a cover for a British children’s anthology, and writing a novel as well, but one so layered, it might take her a while to finish.



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

Get involved

1. Get Connected

Follow us on social media.

Support our message! This year we've prepared an exciting poetry campaign to get on board with. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and share our posts. 
You can also download our social media pack and post a personalised message of support. 

2. Get Active

Put up a bystander intervention display. Whether it's in your workplace or community centre, you'll always find people who would like to learn how to help. Get in touch and we will provide you with some resources.          

3. Get trained

Make a commitment to get our Bystander Intervention Training and promote it. We offer a range of bystander intervention training that we can tailor to specific communities and needs. Contact us to learn more.


Why National Bystander Awareness Day?

Incidents motivated by hate are on the increase and it can be very upsetting for victims if people just stand around and do nothing. Most incidents - like harassment or name-calling, take place in public spaces including public transport, so there is a chance you may be a witness when you are out and about. 


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.
Listen to the stories of people living in Nottingham.
Why are bystander interventions important in tackling hate crime?

National Bystander Awareness Day is supported by: