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  • Writer's pictureSAFE Bar Network

Are Customer Service and Bystander Intervention the Same Thing?

Updated: Aug 3, 2021

What do you know about bystander intervention? Active bystander skills?

You may have heard these terms but if you are like most of us you might not know exactly what they are and you probably don’t consider yourself an expert. Whether you realize it or not you have used active bystander skills to notice concerning behavior and interrupt effectively. In fact, if you work in the food and beverage industry you’ve been using active bystander skills for a long time, you call it customer service.

At the SAFE Bar Network, we partner with bars and other alcohol-serving venues to harness the power of their team, improve active bystander skills, and together create a workplace culture focused on giving everyone a safe night out.

Research tells us that bystanders are influenced by the behaviors of other bystanders. So, at the SAFE Bar Network, we facilitate focused conversations that bring the entire staff together to build connections and make part of working hard noticing concerning behavior, interrupting effectively, and providing support.

We know that camaraderie and a focus on customer care is an important part of deciding whether or not to use active bystander skills to help someone. This is because people are motivated to help when…

…they are encouraged by others to take action when someone is uncomfortable or unsafe.

…they identify with and see themselves as similar to the person being hurt.

…they know that they will be supported and encouraged by others when they take action to help.

With this in mind, we walk into every SAFE Bar Network training conversation knowing that there are people on staff who already take pride in their customer service skills and that the entire team has the knowledge and experiences to engage in a conversation focused on increasing safety for everyone.

SAFE Bar Training conversations are simple, manageable, and they work – but you don’t have to take our word for it. Check out these real-life, Everyday Active Bystanders.

Interested in learning more about the SAFE Bar Network and our work to give everyone a safe night out, sign up for our monthly newsletter here. Or contact us at

The SAFE Bar Network is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) you can join the team by donating your time, talent, and money to the mission of giving everyone a SAFE Night Out, just click here.

To learn more about active bystander skills check out our blog post, Obstacles. What obstacles? 3 Full Proof Everyday Active Bystander Skills.

Interested in learning more about bystander intervention? Visit our friends at With Us Center for Bystander Intervention.

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

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

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