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Safety is the #1 priority when considering becoming involved in a high-risk situation. Follow these safe intervention strategies:

  • Step #1

Always assess the situation for your personal safety and those of others involved. This is your first priority. Check the scene and notice all the people that are around you and anything that could harm yourself or others near you. If you are a witness to bullying, it may be best to stay out of the sight of the bully, but you can help by recording the incident on your cell phone and sharing it with the school administration. Do not post photos/video on the Internet. Doing so may put the victim in harm’s way and subject them to additional acts of violence. In potentially violent situations, you can call 9-1-1 and then stand by to provide police officers with information related to the incident.

  • Step #2

Be aware of the problem or situation. Listen carefully to the conversation and the behavior of the people involved to determine if this is an emergency or a potentially high-risk situation that may develop into violence. Determine if the person needs help.

  • Step #3

If you determine the person needs help and you wish to become an engaged bystander, consider your options for action:

    • Can you enlist the aid of others to help the victim?
    • What resources are available to you in order to safely support the person and mitigate the potentially violent situation?
    • In a bullying situation, you can distract the bully or ask the victim to go with you to another safer location. Weigh the costs of the options you are considering and determine the best time to get involved.

For immediate help, call 9-1-1. If you are a student and you hear someone talking about doing harm to anyone at school or bringing a weapon on campus, report this immediately to your teacher, principal, school counselor, or campus security. You could be saving lives!


Safety is always the priority. Be sure you're safe in however you choose to intervene.
This website is funded by the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health through Grant Number #5UF2CE002430-02 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health nor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).