About Bystander Intervention Training

Bystander intervention training has gained much ground in recent years.
It can empower people to address bullying, harassment, poor behaviour, disrespectful attitudes, discrimination, prejudice, negative biases, undermining behaviours microaggressions (which if not addressed could escalate to having a more harmful impact).  

Communities Inc realised that bystander intervention training has a huge potential for bringing a fresh and innovative approach to the area of ‘equality, diversity and inclusion’, with a practical approach based on decades of scientific enquiry. This intellectual and academic data is interesting and useful but in itself does not lead to behavioural change. That is why our training is practical and provides understanding, skills and confidence to address inappropriate attitudes and behaviours in a way that is engaging, relatable and accessible. This all helps to reflect and gain insights that can lead to people changing not only how they behave but also how to respond to others. Stand By Me is about influencing behavioural change and addressing toxic social norms.

We all intervene (help. support, assist, aid, nurture, educate…) all the time in different areas of our life. There are whole professions based in interventions such as the emergency services, health, education, housing, so this is intervening is not foreign to us, essentially it’s a ‘response’ or ‘reaction’ to something that needs attention.
We just need to do it more consciously with a purpose.

Where Does Stand By Me Come From?

Increased reports of hate crime following the EU Referendum result in June 2016, and videos emerging across social media showing acts of hostility and hate, prompted us to think about the role of bystanders (or witnesses). Our initial thoughts were that the least people could be doing is reporting what they witness, even if its anonymously, so at least the police and other authorities know what is going on, who it is affecting and where it is taking place. This community orientated approach, to engage more people in tackling hate crime in their neighbourhoods, was the beginning of what is now a fundamental aspect of our Stand by Me programs and contributed to our unique intervention framework through which everyone can find something to do.

Stand by Me UK

Supported by Google.org we took our initial pilot training across England, Scotland and Wales from 2020-2022. We trained 1098 people through 83 sessions – all during the challenging times of the first and several subsequent lockdowns. A range of people attended these sessions from local residents, local authorities, NHS trusts, community groups, police services, local businesses, schools, colleges and universities to name a few.

For more about the Stand by Me UK project click here.

“I attended bystander training because I wanted to develop knowledge of how to stand up for people who might need help. The training was well-pitched, challenging and very much worthwhile.”

Alex Norris, Member of Parliament for Nottingham North

Stand by Me in Other Environments

Our training very quickly moved into other environments and contexts. Our most popular and in-demand programs are those based in the workplace and educational establishments.
Stand by Me is relevant and suitable for anywhere there are people and where inappropriate behaviours and attitudes may be expressed.

Benefits of Stand By Me

  • Helps to address inappropriate attitudes and behaviours.
  • Gives everyone a role they can play through a range of interventions
  • (so it’s a collective endeavour).
  • Leads to a more inclusive and respectful environment for everyone.

What Do We Focus On?

Practical application:
Our training is not just about giving people information but about giving people the opportunity to internalise the skills to be able to apply them in different contexts.
Behaviour change:
We provide the tools to influence behaviour change that brings practical benefits through real life case studies related to the audiences we work with.
Culture change:
Help set the ‘new normal’ in your team, department or organisation that sets out what people are expected to do and what they can expect from others.

“Can I just say, once again, how brilliant we all found this training. There have been so many conversations starting within our teams that wouldn’t have happened before. I would also like to say how fantastic Shamsher was on both days. She was so engaging and really informative!”

Elizabeth Henson, Interim Service Manager,
Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

What Do Participants Get Out Of It?

Our bystander interventions programs have demonstrated that participants:

  • Are more aware of the different levels of inappropriate attitudes and behaviours and the impact they have
  • Understand the value of intervening/stepping in/helping in preventing any escalation to more harmful/hurtful behaviour
  • Are more confident in responding when witnessing behaviour/attitudes that can cause harm in their environment

Stand By Me…

  • Is relevant to any environment, educational establishments, the workplace, neighbourhoods…
  • Is rooted and underpinned by research and scientific evidence
  • Can contribute to promoting the well-being of teams and organisations and culture change
  • Takes the focus away from the person affected and it in the hands of those that may witness incidents
  • Is adaptable to addressing specific areas such as racism, sexism, homophobia…