The bystander approach to violence prevention: Considerations for implementation in Europe

Fenton, R. A. and Mott, H. (2017) The bystander approach to violence prevention: Considerations for implementation in Europe. Psychology of Violence, 7 (3). pp. 450-458. ISSN 2152-0828 Available from:

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Abstract Objective: In recent years there has been a growing awareness of the prevalence of sexual violence in UK university student populations yet prevention efforts are in their infancy. Evidence from the US shows that empowering bystanders to intervene to prevent violence rather than focussing on perpetrators or victims is a promising strategy particularly suited to university settings. Public Health England commissioned a bystander program, The Intervention Initiative, for UK universities. This paper discusses the theoretical underpinnings of the bystander approach and the challenges for practical implementation in Europe. Method: We review findings from research relating to bystander theories, social norms theory and effective prevention programming which inform the development of maximally effective bystander programs. Results: Bystander programs are complex, multi-faceted interventions based on taking participants through the different stages required for an individual to move from inaction to action as described by Latané and Darley, 1969; 1970 in their organising framework for bystander intervention, and incorporating a social norms element. Programs which adhere to the principles for effective prevention as set out by Nation et al. (2003) are most likely to be effective. We demonstrate how these criteria informed the cultural specificity of The Intervention Initiative to UK university settings and the challenges in adapting the approach for European settings. Conclusion: More research is needed to develop and test bystander programs in different European countries in order to build an evidence base for effective prevention programming.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Uncontrolled Keywords:bystander approach, violence prevention, considerations, implementation, Europe
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Business and Law > Department of Law
ID Code:30830
Deposited By: Dr R. Fenton
Deposited On:13 Feb 2017 12:22
Last Modified:11 Oct 2017 16:29

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