Residents empowered to become active bystanders

Communities / Sun 31st Mar 2024 at 01:22pm

ESSEX County Council is inviting residents to learn how to be active bystanders.

In 2023 the council set up an online bystander intervention module. It helps residents learn the skills to intervene in a safe and appropriate way if they witness harmful behaviour. This includes threatening, dehumanising, or distressing behaviour aimed at women and girls.

Research by the council’s Safety Advisory Group found that 81% of women who responded didn’t think others would step in to help. The same research showed that 60% of men and 70% of women didn’t think they would be able to intervene safely.

The module takes around 45 minutes to complete and so far around 900 people have taken part. It offers information and guidance on people can do if they witness inappropriate or threatening behaviour. It also gives advice on how they could address it in a safe way. The module has a particular focus on women’s safety and sexual harassment.

Councillor Louise McKinlay, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Levelling Up, Communities and Business Engagement, said:

“Everyone in Essex has the right to live their life free of fear and harassment.

“There is already a lot of work happening by us, schools, the police and communities across Essex to tackle sexual harassment. However, we know many women in the county still experience fear and this is not acceptable.

“Our Bystander Intervention initiative is an opportunity for anyone in the county to learn about what they could do if they witness sexual harassment or inappropriate behaviour. It will equip residents with the information and guidance to help them feel more confident to help in these situations.”

Take part in the module: www.essex.gov.uk/bystander

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7 Comments for Residents empowered to become active bystanders:

2024-03-31 18:39:16

This is great idea. But why is it only aimed at women and girls? Boys and men are also vulnerable to this. It's disappointing that nothing focuses on men and boys aswell.

2024-03-31 19:05:48

Violence against men and boys is just as bad maybe the council could stop virtue signalling

Mr Grumpy
2024-03-31 19:25:13

I once stepped in during an issue in the street trying to calm things down. Ended up in hospital for my trouble!! Next time I think a more aggressive approach ie hit first and "talk" later. Oh hang on, that would be wrong in the eyes of "the law". We can't win no matter what we do.

2024-03-31 20:20:14

I'm feeling dehumanised

Dean Wilson
2024-04-02 06:16:53

So men and boys are not assaulted or attacked, and in some cases women or girls being the offender? Good to know. Just one more step for men to just "man up" and let it slide again, eh?...

Dee Dee
2024-04-02 16:02:41

As a dv survivor this would have made my situation worse if someone interfered whilst he was in a rage, I would be blamed for someone interfering. I don’t no if this is a good thing or not really

2024-04-03 14:15:20

I intervened many years ago when I saw a young man punching his girlfriend in the street. It was late at night with nobody around. I went over and suggested he should stop it or he may get arrested. At that point he swung for me. I dodged it and punched him on the chin. He went down fairly easily as he was drunk. At that point I felt a whack to the back of my head. The girl had taken off her stilleto and hit me over the head with it. I walked away as she was comforting him and helping him to his feet. I've never interfered in any similar situation since.

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