SCAET building at Sheridan's Trafalgar Road Campus

Don’t be a Bystander

What to do if you think someone might be in trouble

You have a crucial role to play in keeping your friends safe. No matter what the setting, if you see something that doesn’t feel quite right or see someone who might be in trouble, there are some simple things you can do to help out a friend.

Create a distraction.

If you see a friend in a situation that doesn’t feel quite right, create a distraction to get your friend to safety. This can be as simple as joining or redirecting the conversation: suggest to your friend that you leave the party, or ask them to walk you home. Try asking questions like: “Do you want to head to the bathroom with me?” or “Do you want to head to another party – or grab pizza?”

Step in.

If you see someone who looks uncomfortable or is at risk, step in. If you feel safe, find a way to de-escalate the situation and separate all parties involved. Don’t be shy about directly asking the person if they need help or if they feel uncomfortable.

Bring in more people.

You don’t have to go it alone. Call in friends or other people in the area as reinforcements to help defuse a dangerous situation and get the at-risk person home safely. There is safety in numbers.

Keep an eye out.

Use your eyes and ears to observe your surroundings. If you see someone who has had too much to drink or could be vulnerable, try to get them to a safe place. Enlist friends to help you. Even if you weren’t around when the assault occurred, you can still support a friend in the aftermath.

Credit: Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network

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