Bringing in the bystander

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Bringing in the bystander college prevention programme

Target population

College and undergraduate university students, with customisations made for athletic and other specific student groups.

Delivery organisation

The Bringing in the Bystander College Prevention Program (BITB-College) was developed at the University of New Hampshire, USA, and is distributed by Soteria Solutions. Soteria Solutions are national leaders in the area of sexual and interpersonal violence harassment prevention.

Mode and context of delivery

Designed for students within college and university settings. There are three levels of delivery, each with their own corresponding price structure: Level 1 – combination of electronic PowerPoint and hard copy facilitator guide curriculum; Level 2 – program materials with full day Train the Trainer workshop on campus; Level 3 – a combination of Level 1 and 2, with an additional half day of training with customised activities and materials. Training is tailored to incorporate local resources and relevant examples.

Level/Nature of staff expertise required (e.g. professional background)

Training is option but, upon request, Soteria Solutions will provide an all-day train-the-trainer program. Soteria trainers have an abundance of both practical and research experience in the area of sexual and interpersonal violence and harassment prevention. Organizations should contact Soteria Solutions to discuss hosting a training.

Intensity/extent of engagement with target group(s)

BITB-College can be delivered in one session, with each session lasting approximately 120 minutes. Sessions require interactive discussions; therefore, students are encouraged to participate. Topics for discussion include barriers to intervention, identity, the continuum of violence, what makes intervention more or less difficult in particular situations and how to define sexual violence. 

Description of intervention

The overall aim of BITB - College is to educate college and university students about the realities of sexual assault and equip them with tools to help them to identify and prevent rape. The programme utilises a community responsibility approach, teaching bystanders how to safely intervene in instances where sexual violence, relationship violence or stalking may be occurring, or where there may be a risk that it will occur. It is expected for students to have:

  • gained an understanding of what bystander responsibility is through the presentation of concepts and examples
  • had the opportunity to apply the concept of bystander responsibility to their own past experiences
  • gained an understanding of individual and situational factors that facilitate appropriate bystander intervention
  • had the opportunity to apply the concept of bystander responsibility to sexual and relationship violence and stalking
  • been able to identify the range of unacceptable sexual behaviors and become aware of the prevalence and context of sexual violence
  • understood the variety of negative consequences of sexual and relationship violence and stalking for victims and communities
  • increased their empathy for victims
  • understood the role community members can play in preventing sexual and relationship violence and stalking and reducing its negative consequences
  • cultivated skills in identifying situations where bystander intervention may be appropriate
  • gained experience in working through the decision process with regard to bystander behaviors including the costs and benefits of intervention
  • gained knowledge of resources that are available to support bystanders and victim/survivors
  • expressed motivation and commitment to be an active bystander
  • been able to describe the range of potential bystander behaviors and situations where action might be appropriate
  • gained experience in working through the decision process with regard to bystander behaviors including the costs and benefits of intervention
  • gained knowledge of resources that are available to support bystanders and victim/survivors

At the end of the training, student signs bystander pledges and receive Active Bystanders Care cards as reminders of the decision-making process for intervening.


In addition to the prevention goal, the program has a research component which seeks to measure the effectiveness of the program. BITB College is utilised by more than 500 colleges and universities in the USA and internationally, and the effectiveness has been demonstrated in numerous peer-reviewed studies. BITB College has been recommended to institutes by the White House Task Force.

To determine programme effectiveness, Banyard, Moynihan, and Plante (2007) conducted research consisting of three participant groups with an age range of 18 to 23: (1) Control group – did not receive intervention, (2) Treatment Group 1 – attended one 90-minute session, (3) Treatment Group 2 – attended two 90-minute sessions within one week. A booster session was administered to the treatment groups 2 months after the prevention sessions, and all participants within each group completed questionnaires at pre-test, 2 weeks post-test, 2 months post-test, and 12- or 4-months post-test depending on year of study. The research found that participants in both the one- and three-session treatment groups showed significant improvement across outcome measures from pretest to posttest when compared to control group participants. Specifically, there were significant increases in prosocial bystander attitudes, bystander efficacy, and self-reported bystander behaviors, and the longer the prevention program, the greater the significant change. Some effects of the program did seem to decline somewhat by the 4- and 12-month follow-ups, though for the treatment groups there were still many outcomes related to efficacy, knowledge, and attitudes that remained significant. Gender analyses suggested that the program benefited both male and female participants.

Another study by Moynihan, and colleagues (2015) found that participants who completed a Bringing in the Bystander program in conjunction with seeing a related social marketing campaign (called Know Your Power), reported higher levels of bystander behaviour relating to helping friends at 1-year post-program, when compared to control participants. This finding was relevant when controlling for initial reports of bystander helping. Similarly, Inman, Chaudoir, Galvinhill, and Sheehy’s (2018) pre- and post-treatment evaluation comparisons showed that students’ bystander self-efficacy increased and their rape myth acceptance decreased after completing the program; and a study of sorority women showed participants expressed greater willingness and confidence to intervene and a greater sense of responsibility as a bystander after participating in the program (Moynihan, Banyard, Arnold, Eckstein, & Stapleton, 2011).


Banyard, V. L., Moynihan, M. M., & Plante, E. G. (2007). Sexual violence prevention through bystander education: An experimental evaluation. Journal of Community Psychology, 35, 463-481. doi:10.1002/jcop.20159

Inman, E. M., Chaudoir, S. R., Galvinhill, P. R., & Sheehy, A. M. (2018). The Effectiveness of the Bringing in the Bystander™ Program Among First-Year Students at a Religiously-Affiliated Liberal Arts College. Journal of Social and Political Psychology6(2), 511-525.

Moynihan, M. M., Banyard, V. L., Arnold, J. S., Eckstein, R. P., & Stapleton, J. G. (2011). Sisterhood may be powerful for reducing sexual and intimate partner violence: An evaluation of the bringing in the bystander in-person program with sorority members. Violence Against Women17(6), 703-719.

Moynihan, M. M., Banyard, V. L., Cares, A. C., Potter, S. J., Williams, L. M., & Stapleton, J. G. (2015). Encouraging responses in sexual and relationship violence prevention: What program effects remain 1 year later? Journal of Interpersonal Violence30(1), 110-132.

Contact details

9 Madbury Road, Suite 404, Durham, NH, 03824, United States

(603) 862-7020 for the contact form

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RATING: Effective