Why Bystander?

We are all bystanders as we go about our daily lives. We witness situations that cause harm, even when we are not directly involved. It can be difficult to decide whether or not to do anything in these situations

Bystander training can help people become confident at safely and effectively intervening in harmful situations.

The bystander approach works in two key ways:

When someone intervenes well:

The wrongdoer receives the message that their behaviour is not okay. This stops the harm in process and may prevent them from doing it again.
It tells others that the behaviour is not tolerated and that it’s safe to intervene. This changes the group norm.

Skillful bystander intervention can thus help to promote more equal, diverse and inclusive places to live and work, and transform organizational cultures.

But silence is complicity. When no one says anything the wrongdoer receives a message that their actions are acceptable. The behaviour carries on and can potentially get worse. Even more concerning, this negative behaviour can set a norm, which can encourage others to act harmfully too. This can create a cycle of damaging behaviour.

Kindling works with you to break this cycle. Anyone can be an ‘active bystander’ – anyone can intervene positively in potentially harmful situations when given the right tools. The most common thing people tell us is that they want to do the right thing, but lack the confidence and skills to do so. This is what our training addresses: we teach people to be active bystanders and leaders. We help you and your team identify harmful situations and how to intervene safely.

This can have a knock-on effect. If one person is feeling uncomfortable with someone’s behaviour, it’s likely others are too. By having the confidence and skillset to intervene, we act as leaders and encourage others to speak out too. Research has even shown that when one person intervenes it changes the ‘group norm’ – it shows other bystanders that it’s okay to speak-up. This sends a clear message to the wrongdoer that their actions are not OK.

What are interventions?

Interventions in this context can take many forms, for example:

Using body language to express disapproval

Not laughing at a harmful ‘joke’ or ‘banter’

Turning negative remarks into positive ones

Being supportive to victims

Interrupting and/or distracting from the harmful behaviour

Talking to the wrongdoer about their behaviour

Expressing disagreement

Using humour to show disapproval

 Getting help from others

The evidence base

All our trainings are evidence-based. By this we mean that there is a body of published research from which we have developed our trainings. This goes for both the content of our training and the way in which we deliver it. 

How and who we can help...


Bystander at Work, Promoting equality and diversity through bystander approaches

Community Level

Active Bystander Communities,
Bystander intervention training targeting domestic abuse and sexual violence


Bystander intervention training and whole organisational approach to safe and equitable campuses for students and staff.

Football & Sport

Bystander intervention to prevent sexual and domestic abuse, tackle harmful ‘locker room’ culture and equip coaches, players and fans with the knowledge to intervene in potentially harmful situations

“Great facilitators, great materials, mix of styles and resources, good pace”

“lots of real- life examples; kind and experienced approach from trainers”

The explanatory material was powerful and thought provoking, the role plays brought it all to life and gave tools to use in real life scenarios – fantastic!

“Excellent training. Loved having a space to discuss ideas and get feedback on experiences”

“Role-playing and discussion was really helpful. Also hearing real-life scenarios from the group made the space feel safe and honest. Thankyou! Please – more courses like this! “

“specific examples given for how to respond to racism etc, which is exactly what I was hoping for as I feel confident spotting ‘bad’ behaviour but don’t know how to call it out”

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