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Bringing in the bystanders

Queen’s is launching two new initiatives to help tackle sexual assault on campus.

Bringing in the Bystander, a new pilot program at Queen’s, is aiming to empower the community to stop sexual assault before it happens.

The University of New Hampshire developed and trademarked Bringing in the Bystander. The program encourages bystanders to intervene safely and effectively in cases where sexual assault may be occurring or where there may be a risk of sexual violence.

Universities across Canada have since been implementing the program on their campuses and Queen’s has begun training the first people who will, in turn, train others on campus.

“We’re very excited to launch this evidence-based awareness-raising and skill-building program alongside other important strategies to help prevent incidents of sexual assaults on campus,” says Arig al Shaibah, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs (Student Life and Learning) and Chair of SAPRWG.

Members of SAPRWG have been trained to deliver the Bringing in the Bystander program. As this is a train-the-trainer model, a team of students will be selected to receive the trainer and deliver the program to peers across campus.

Bringing in the Bystander helps community members:

  • Identify behaviours in a continuum of violence.
  • Develop empathy for those who have experienced violence.
  • Learn safe and appropriate intervention skills.
  • Commit to intervene before, during and after an incident of sexual abuse, relationship violence or stalking.

“This training is highly interactive and, instead of focusing strictly on the roles of perpetrator and victim, Bringing in the Bystander uses a community of responsibility approach,” says Dr. al Shaibah. “It teaches bystanders how to safely intervene in instances where an incident may be occurring or where there may be risk.”

"This training is highly interactive and, instead of focusing strictly on the roles of perpetrator and victim, Bringing in the Bystander uses a community of responsibility approach."

- Dr. Arig al Shaibah

This isn’t the first or only initiative Queen’s has or will run to target sexual violence on campus. For example, the Red Flag Campaign is run annually to help students identify “red flags” for violence in their friends’ relationships and encourage them to intervene. The 2015 Red Flag Campaign ran from March 23-27 in a series of posters in the Student Lounge in the Athletics and Recreation Centre, along with a number of miniature red flags on fitness equipment. Follow this link for more information on the Red Flag Campaign.

In addition to campus campaigns, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Working Group (SAPRWG) has distributed online surveys to solicit feedback from members of the Queen’s community on the campus environment as it relates to sexual violence.

Results of the campus climate survey will inform the design and enhancement of new and existing sexual assault prevention resources at Queen’s.

Follow these links for more information on SAPRWG and Bringing in the Bystander. To take the campus climate survey, please follow this link