Cheat sheet for viewer intervention (2023)

Cheat sheet for viewer intervention (1)

What is a spectator and an upstander?

When someone views and dismisses an attack with prejudice, either willingly or because they are unaware of the discriminatory nature of the situation, it can appear as if they are condoning or reinforcing the perpetrator's behavior and increasing the target's alienation. . These people are known as "bystanders". Violence and aggression, whether macro or micro, perpetuate discrimination based on any characteristic, including age, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, a combination of these or any other. By finding ways to inform and encourage people to respond to prejudiced behavior and to speak out against discriminatory words or actions as they occur, we can motivate a society of advocates who make anti-discrimination behavior the social norm and a safer, more inclusive society.


A bystander is a person who observes or witnesses a situation of discrimination or violence committed by a perpetrator against a victim and has the right toChancetolerate, intervene or do nothing (Rodenhizer-Stämpfli et al., 2018; Barnyard, 2011, cited in Henson et al., 2020).


An upstander is a spectator who recognizes and recognizes acts or expressions of injustice.Take a positioninterrupt and challenge situations that normalize discrimination and potential violence. (Nelson et al., 2011; Grantham, 2011; Parrott et al., 2020).

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The difference between spectator intervention and the “bystander effect”

Bystander intervention is not the same as bystander effect. The spectator's intervention makes the spectator aware in situations of discrimination/emergency. The “bystander effect” refers to the psychological phenomenon in which individuals are less likely to help or intervene due to the ambiguity of the situation, the inhibiting presence of multiple bystanders (diffusion of responsibility), and the social influence of other people's inaction. (Henson et al., 2020; Madden & Loh, 2020; Jenkins & Nickerson, 2019; Bystander, 2006).

Examples of situations where you can be a spectator or supervisor

  • You witness another student bullying a queer student.
  • You watch a marginalized person being micro-aggressed by someone else.

Promoters and obstacles to get up

Promoter of the Revolt

To encourage the shift from bystander to awareness, we must motivate and educate bystanders to give them the ability and confidence to stand up to racism and racially motivated violence. Promoters include:

  • Knowledge and awareness of discrimination and the harm it can cause (Nelson et al., 2011)
  • A person's confidence and intention to successfully intervene in a discriminatory situation, also known as bystander self-efficacy (Parrott et al., 2020; Muja et al., 2021)
  • Members of non-excluded groups confronted with perpetrators of discrimination (Gulker et al., 2013)
  • Affective empathy, which involves empathetic concern and sharing the feelings or emotions of another person (Menolascino & Jenkins, 2018)
  • Assertiveness (Jenkins & Nickerson, 2019)
  • Desire to educate offenders (Nelson et al., 2011)
  • Social norms that do not condone racism (Nelson et al., 2011)
  • Education, training and programming of auditory interventions (Gabriella et al., 2021; McMahon et al., 2021)

obstacles to get up

Most of us can identify with the hesitation that arises when observing an aggressive or violent situation. Identifying these obstacles to ascension is one of the first steps in moving from bystander to insurgent. Barriers include:

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  • Social and economic costs of not being an Upstander (Kawakami et al., 2019)
  • Marginal challengers are not taken seriously or seen as complainers (Kawakami et al., 2019; Gulker et al., 2013)
  • Not knowing or interpreting a situation as discriminatory or biased (Kawakami et al., 2019)
  • No social relationships with victims of discrimination or prejudice (Liebst, 2019)
  • Fear of Retribution (Haynes-Baratz, 2021)
  • Perpetrator status or perceived power (Haynes-Baratz, 2021)
  • Social norms that tolerate discrimination or marginalization (Nelson et al., 2011)
  • Avoid conflicts (Nelson et al., 2011)
  • Perception of own actions or knowledge as ineffective to intervene (Nelson et al., 2011)

action steps

Once people recognize their own ability to act in a bystander situation, they can take steps to mitigate the impact of the situation. Being proactive is the key to becoming an Upstander. Proactive options can occur at different levels and include:

interpersonal level

Levantar-se em 5 passos (Rodenhizer-Stämpfli et al., 2018; Nelson et al., 2011)

  1. Recognize and interpret a situation of discrimination/emergency.
  2. Assess the nature of the incident and decide if intervention is necessary.
  3. Take responsibility for the intervention.
  4. Know and decide how to approach the situation.
  5. Make the decision to act.

The 5 D's of Hollabacks! for spectator intervention: (Hollaback!, 2017)

  1. To bend:Defuse the situation indirectly by interrupting the harasser and target (e.g., riot, small talk, etc.).
  2. Delegate:Ask a third party to help you intervene, preferably someone in authority.
  3. Document:If it is safe to do so and someone is already helping the target, take notes or video of the discriminatory situation (permission to share the situation belongs to the target).
  4. Delay:Let the person know they have been discriminated against/harassed (eg support, offer to help, etc.).
  5. Direct:Once everyone is physically safe, speak out loudly and clearly against the bullying/discrimination that is taking place (prioritize helping the victim over approaching the bully).

municipal level

  • Public awareness campaigns that highlight the severity of exclusion and encourage speaking out, even against what may appear to be minor offenses (but are not), such as discriminatory jokes and stereotypes (VicHealth, 2010).
  • Community leaders, role models, and peers who engage in prosocial and helpful behaviors can have influential effects in shifting social norms toward bystander intervention (VicHealth, 2010).
  • Anti-bias campaigns that use messages that emphasize both our similarities and our differences (VicHealth, 2010).

institutional level

  • When cases of prejudice and discrimination arise, people first turn to their leaders or managers to resolve the issue. Therefore, these individuals must be prepared to act at this time (Ashburn-Nardo et al., 2019).
  • Provide training and programs that educate employees on how to create an inclusive, non-discriminatory work environment (VicHealth, 2010).
  • Have a work environment that encourages respect, listening, and appropriate behavior (Haynes-Baratz, 2021).
  • Honest behavior by school administrators and teachers against bullying is significantly associated with direct intervention, peer response, and self-efficacy (Farley, 2018).

macro letter

  • Educating people about the occurrence and possible harm of structural bias can contribute to bystander/allied actions (Brown et al., 2021).
  • Changing the perception of non-excluded people that intent trumps effect when it comes to characterizing a situation as discriminatory/biased (Brown et al., 2021).
  • Foster a willingness to confront strange offenders as well as a desire to confront other offenders (Brown et al., 2021).


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Ashburn-Nardo L., Lindsey A., Morris KA. and Goodwin, S.A. (2019). Who is responsible for combating prejudice? The role of perceived and delegated authority.Journal of Economics and Psychology, 1-13.

Brown, RM, Craig, MA and Apfelbaum, EP (2021). European Americans' Intentions to Combat Racial Prejudice: Considering Who, What (Type), and Why.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,95, 104123.

spectator intervention effect. (2006). In J. E. Roeckelein (ed.),Elsevier's Dictionarypsychological theories. Elsevier Science and Technology.

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Farley, J. (2018). Teachers as Compelled Bystanders: Score and Attribution of Administrator Support and Peer Response to Direct Teacher Intervention in Bullying.psychology in schools,55(9), 1056–1070.

Grantham, T.C. (2011). New Directions for Talented Black Men Suffering from Bystander Effects: A Call to Stand Up. Roper Rating:A magazine for gifted students,33(4), 263–272.

Gulker, JE, Mark, AY and Monteith, MJ (2013). Coping with prejudice: the who, what and why of effective influence,8(4), 280-293.

Haynes-Baratz, MC, Bond, MA, Allen, CT, Li, YL and Metinyurt, T. (2021). Challenging gender microaggressions in academia: a socioecological analysis of bystander actions among professors.Diversity in Higher Education Magazine.

Henson, B., Fisher, BS, & Reyns, B.W. (2020). Virtually no excuse: Frequency and predictors of college students' intervention behaviors targeting online victimization.violence against women,26(5), 505-527.

Hello! (2017).Bystander Intervention Features: Hollaback! stop intimidating. Hello!Together we have the power to end bullying.

Jenkins, LN and Nickerson, AB (2019). Bystander intervention in bullying: role of social skills and gender.the teenage diary,39(2), 141–166.

Johnson, NL, Walker, RV and Rojas-Ashe, EE (2019). A Social Justice Approach to Measuring Spectator Behavior: Introducing the Critically Aware Spectator Scale.Gender roles: a research diary,81(11–12), 731–747.

Kawakami K, Karmali F and Vaccarino E (2019). Confronting intergroup prejudice: expected and actual responses to racism and sexism. Facing Prejudice and Discrimination (pp. 3-28). Academic Press.

Liebst LS, Philpot R, Bernasco W, Dausel KL, Ejbye EP, Nicolaisen MH and Lindegaard MR (2019). Social relationships and the presence of others predict bystander intervention: evidence of violent incidents captured on video surveillance.aggressive behavior,45(6), 598-609.

Madden, C. and Loh, J. (MI). (2020). Cyberbullying in the workplace and bystander helping behavior.The international magazine of human resource management,31(19), 2434–2458.

McMahon, SM, Hoge, GL., Johnson, L., & McMahon, S. (2021). "Stand Up and Do Something": Exploring Students' Perspectives on Bystander Intervention.Journal of Interpersonal Violence,36(7–8), NP3869-NP3888.

Menolascino, N. & Jenkins, LN (2018). Prediction of bystander intervention in high school students.Quarterly School Psychology,33(2), 305–313.

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Mujal GN, Taylor ME, Fry JL, Gochez-Kerr TH, & Weaver NL. (2021). A systematic review of bystander interventions to prevent sexual violence.Trauma, violence and abuse,22(2), 381-396.

Nelson, JK, Dunn, KM & Paradise, Y. (2011). Bystander anti-racism: a literature review.Analysis of social problems and public policies,11(1), 263-284.

Parrott DJ, Swartout KM, Tharp AT, Purvis DM. and Topalli, V. (2020). To speak! Verbalizations of prosocial intervention predict successful bystander intervention for a laboratory analogue of sexual assault.Sexual abuse: journal of research and treatment,32(2), 220–243.

Potter, S.J., Demers, J.M., Flanagan, M., Seidman, M., & Moschella, EA (2021). Can video games prevent violence? A review of games that encourage spectator participation to combat sexual violence on college campuses.psychology of violence,11(2),

Rodenhizer-Stampfli KA, Eckstein RP and Edwards KM (2018). spectator action. In R.J.R. Leveske,youth encyclopedia(2nd ed.). Springer Science + Commercial Media.

Victorian Foundation for Health Promotion (VicHealth) (2010).Review of viewer approaches inSupport the prevention of racial discrimination.


American Psychological Association. (2022).Spectator intervention information sheet.


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