Texas Tech University

Bystander Intervention


Only 41% of TTU students reported that they viewed Texas Tech as a campus where we look out for each other (TTU RISE, ACHA Report, 2022). How do we change that? We can combat this statistic by increasing the number of informed, active bystanders on the Texas Tech campus.

What's an Active Bystander?

Active Bystander: Someone who witnesses a situation who steps up/speaks up/advocates and either prevents a situation from escalating or disrupts a problematic situation.

Passive Bystander: Someone who chooses to ignore the situation or do nothing.

Why Don't More People Help?

Diffusion of responsibility is a socio-psychological phenomenon in which a person is less likely to take responsibility for action or inaction when other bystanders or witnesses are present.

Similarly, the bystander effect occurs when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an unsafe situation or emergency. Typically the greater number of people/bystanders present, makes it less likely for someone in distress to receive help from those around them. People are more likely to take action in a crisis when there are fewer people present.

Reasons people may not intervene The reality
Feeling unprepared to handle the crisis: “Someone here knows more than me.”​ If not you, who?
Belittling your intuition: "No one else seems to be too worried. Is this even really a problem?” Ask others what they think or read the room.​
Misjudging the situation: “I'm just not sure this is an issue.”​ Err on the side of caution – or investigate!​
Not taking responsibility: "It's not my problem," or, "They deserve it."  If someone is in need, it's everyone's problem​.

Bystander Methods

The Divider

Step in and separate the two people. Tell them why you're getting involved. Let them know you are trying to keep them safe! Find a way to help them get home.

The Interrupter

Distract them to get them to focus on something else. You may say things like "Let's get some fresh air," or ask, "Want to the bathroom with me?" Find a statement that works for you and your personality.

The Evaluator

Evaluate the situation and the people involved to figure out your best course of action. It may be that you intervene directly, or you get friends to help. If it doesn't seem to be working, step back and try a different approach.

The Recruiter

Get friends of both of the people to come help you, and step in as a big group.

The Disrupter

Distract one of the people, and have a buddy distract the other person. Commit a party foul, like spilling your drink, if needed.

How Can You Be an Active Bystander?

Use the acronym Raiders Respond!

Recognize a Problem
  • Be aware of your surroundings.​
  • Anticipate problems.​
  • Don't talk yourself out of thinking there is a problem.​
  • Look for red flags.​
    • You hear someone joking about sexual assault.
    • You hear degrading language.
    • Someone is being pressured to drink.
    • Someone is taking home an intoxicated person.
    • One or more people are raising their voice in an aggressive manner.
  • Trust your gut​.
Assume Responsibility 
  • If not you, who?
  • If you see something, say something.
  • Ask others what they think or read the room.
  • Ask if someone is okay rather than assuming.
Implement Resources

Ask yourself:

  • Where is the nearest hospital?
  • Do you need a clear exit?
  • Who can you call for help?
  • Do you need to call the police or EMS?
  • What local resources can you refer people to?

Other points to consider:

  • Is it safe for me to help this person?
  • What aspects can I control? 
Determine a Plan
  • Choose a course of action and make a plan.
  • Consider frequency, duration, and severity.
  • Stay calm, cool, and collected.
  • Gather information and consider options. 
  • Withhold judgment.
  • Give clear and direct requests.
  • Know appropriate referrals.
  • You can ALWAYS call 911!
Engage Others
  • Who do you need? Recruit them!
  • Give people specific and clear instructions. If they don't respond, move to the next person.
  • If you're the person in need, call people out with identifiers (e.g., "You with the blue jacket! I need your help!")
  • Empower others to help, and always thank those who responded.

Tips for Intervening

  • Approach everyone as a friend.
  • Do not be antagonistic/confrontational.
  • Avoid violence at all costs.
  • Be honest and direct, when possible.
  • Keep yourself safe.
Sustain the Culture
  • Hold people accountable for their actions – big and small.
  • Respect boundaries, communicate safety, and set clear expectations.
  • Follow through and check in.
  • Have courage, compassion, and know that love and acceptance heals a world of violence and hate.

Together, we can create a safer community.

texas tech resources
TTU Title IX Provides supportive measures and resources, academic support, housing assistance, medical and counseling services, parking assistance, and a safety plan after an incident occurs.
Student Counseling Center Licensed mental health care providers offer individual, couple, and group counseling, or students can independently care for themselves at the MindSpa.
Family Therapy Clinic Provides affordable therapy to individuals, couples, and families. Offers caring and confidential therapeutic services to address a wide range of issues.
RISE Office Provides prevention education on topics like bystander intervention, drugs and alcohol, stress management, sexual health, and consent. Offers support and resources to students.
Dean of Students Office Offers academic and support resources and reporting for various situations, such as concern for a student in crisis and misconduct.
Raider Ride (806) 742-RIDE (7433) or use TapRide app on App Store or Google Play. Offers free transportation in Lubbock to or from the university with a TTU ID.
Texas Tech Crisis Helpline Call (806) 742-5555 for support. The Texas Tech Crisis HelpLine provides 24/7/365 assistance for students experiencing suicidal thoughts, mental health crises, sexual assault, and interpersonal violence.
community resources
Voice of Hope Rape Crisis Center Offers a 24-hour crisis hotline, counseling services, and assistance for sexual assault victims and non-offending family members and friends affected by the trauma of sexual assault/sex trafficking. Crisis Hotline: 806-763-RAPE.
Women's Protective Services Offers a 24-hour crisis hotline, shelter, individual and group therapy, support groups, and assistance and advocacy for women, men, and children who have experienced domestic violence.
UMC Emergency Room Confidential emergency health care close to campus. Offers forensic (SANE) exams within 96 hours of an assault.
Covenant Emergency Room Confidential emergency health care close to campus. Offers forensic (SANE) exams within 96 hours of assault.
Lubbock Police Department Offers assistance in emergency situations. For emergencies, call 911. For non-emergencies, call 806-775-2865.
national resources
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Text or call 988 for individuals who are thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support. The lifeline is free, confidential, and is available 24/7/365.
Crisis Text Line Text HELLO to 741741 to connect with a volunteer crisis counselor. Help is available 24/7/365.
Trans Lifeline Hotline staffed by transgender people for transgender people to respond to whatever support needs arise. Call (877) 565-8860 for support.
The Trevor Project Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning young people.