Be an active bystander

If you witness violence

If you witness violence, don’t be aggressive or violent. 

Always keep yourself and others safe. Call 000 in an emergency.

If you witness a violent act – such as a man assaulting a woman in the street - you can:

  • Call the police.
  • Be a witness. Stand far enough away to be safe but close enough for the violent person to see you and be aware that they are being watched.
  • Get others’ support. Ask others who are nearby to help.
  • Verbally intervene. Tell the violent person clearly that their actions are not okay, they are a crime, and you are calling the police.

 Ask the victim if she needs help. Ask:

  • "Are you okay, do you need a taxi?"
  • Make the man feel noticed and, and offer practical assistance to the woman.
  • Say something to the man: "Hey, what are you doing?" "That’s not on, mate," and so on.
  • Stick around to make sure the situation has cooled down.
  • Create a distraction – so that the abused person has time to get away or the perpetrator slows down or ceases their violence. For example, ask a man harassing a woman on the street for directions or the time.

Download this information here.


This information is adapted from Dr Michael Flood’s report, Men Speak Up: A toolkit for action in men’s daily lives.