Perhaps you have been a bystander, saw a problematic situation and wanted to help but didn’t. Sometimes it’s because we don’t know what to do, or we think someone else will help. This is very different from being an active bystander. An active bystander uses specific intervention techniques to safely defuse a situation, decrease the momentum or stop the event from happening altogether.
While students have been receiving active bystander training for many years at Northern Illinois University, the techniques can also be helpful for employees in a variety of situations.
“By being an active bystander at work, we have an opportunity to model positive workplace culture and disrupt harmful narratives,” said Susanne Logsdon assistant director of Prevention Education and Outreach, a unit of the Department of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Logsdon has been at the university for nearly two years and has been providing the campus with sexual misconduct online training, in-person training and collaborating across campus on a variety of initiatives. Logsdon developed and will facilitate the active bystander training for employees which will focus on “equipping colleagues with the tools needed to safely disrupt harmful behaviors in the workplace.”
An active bystander training for employees will take place Wednesday, Oct. 27 from 10-11:30 a.m. in Wirtz Hall, room 222. Employees can register at https://go.niu.edu/myadei-events.
Similar positive outcomes are expected as what has been seen in the student training including learning how to approach harmful behaviors.
“Students have reported gaining confidence on how to intervene, after learning active bystander techniques,” said Allison Hurlburt, prevention program coordinator.
An active bystander has only seconds to recognize a problematic situation, decide how they want to intervene and then intervene. “Working through scenarios will help employees recognize situations and put the techniques to work,” said Logsdon. The training will also bring awareness to the costly impact of unaddressed negative workplace behavior.