Recent research shows that the most effective way to prevent violence and abuse is to engage bystanders. We believe that for every act of violence – bullying, sexual assault, stalking, teen dating abuse – there is a moment when someone can step in to stop it. This is the principle behind Green Dot and it is really very simple; teach bystanders how to watch out for each other by recognizing when someone is in trouble and empower them with Green Dot strategies to safely and effectively intervene.

Green Dot community education

August 16th



In some situations, people feel comfortable directly approaching the situation. You can be direct to either the victim or the perpetrator. For example, you see a couple fighting in the grocery store. One is being very aggressive towards the other. A direct approach would be going up and saying, “Is everything ok here?” or “Is there anything I can do?” or “Let’s step outside and get some fresh air”.


Dr. Edwards says that some bystanders are too wary or shy to approach a potentially violent situation directly, but can diffuse a situation by locating the friends of the person who might be in danger or contacting the police. Through the delegate technique the bystander grabs help, someone whom he/she feels can successfully dissolve the situation before it takes place. It can be a bouncer, bartender, a friend of the perpetrator, or even a friend of the potential victim.


“A favorite story I tell a lot is about a guy who saw one of his buddies taking a girl upstairs at a party,” Edwards says. “[The girl] seemed too drunk to be going upstairs, so the guy called after his buddy and said, ‘Hey, your car is getting towed'”. When the man went to check on his car, the woman’s friends intervened and took her home. Students are often full of great ways to distract. When asked which of the 3 D’s a group of 6th graders might use in a bullying scenario in the school hallway, one 6th grader replied, “I would just say to the bully, “Hey your mom wants you in the front office”.