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  • Writer's pictureSAFE Bar Network

3 Active Bystander Skills

The goal of SAFE Bar Training is to build active bystander skills and to have continuous conversations about preventing sexual harassment and assault. This is part of our SAFE Bar Mini Training Series. If you missed the first video, Things to Notice, watch it here, Things To Notice - SAFE Bar Mini Training Series

This video focuses on active bystander skills.

Let’s start with the facts.

  • Sexual assault is any sexual activity without consent.

  • Consent is a free, enthusiastic “yes.”

  • We know that sexual assault is about power and control.

We know from SAFE Bar Training that bar staff and managers are already noticing concerning behavior. The next step is taking action when you notice that someone is uncomfortable or unsafe.

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For the longest time we have talked about bystander intervention as though there is only one solution. To put on a cape, be a superhero, and do something directly. Yes, we know that works. You can say something to the person hurt or say something to the person causing the problem. But that is not the only option.

We also know that there are two other options that work just as well.

You can get others to help. Get their friends to help. Ask your outgoing coworker to step in or get a manager involved.

Finally, you can talk about something else or create a distraction. This may seem silly, but it is just as effective. When you create a distraction, you are sending three messages.

  1. You are letting the person causing the problem know, I see you.

  2. You are letting the person being hurt know, I see you. You are giving them a way out of the situation.

  3. You are telling everyone else that is watching that it’s important to you that people have a great time and feel safe.

All three of these options work equally well. The most important thing is that, when you

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think of ways to help, you are thinking of things that you will realistically do.

To learn more about active bystander skills check out our blog post, 3 Active Bystander Steps That you can Take.

In our next video we’ll focus on creating a workplace culture where staff notice concerning behavior, interrupt effectively, and offer support.

To learn more about joining the SAFE Bar Network contact us at

If you have a favorite bar, restaurant or night club encourage them to join the SAFE Bar Network. They can learn more at

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault our partners can help. Visit and

To learn more about the field of sexual violence response and prevention visit and

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