Bystander Intervention Information

What If I Am a Bystander and See Something Is Wrong?

If anyone suspects a friend, acquaintance, or stranger may be in a high-risk situation for becoming a victim, is being victimized, or has been a victim of any form of sexual and related misconduct, it is important to decide as a bystander whether there is a safe and reasonable way to intervene effectively, and to act in a way to assist a person whether it is before, during, or after an incident takes place. Bystanders are also encouraged to contact the appropriate person listed in the Sexual and Related Misconduct Policy and Procedures section of the Student Handbook, or the Fordham University Department of Public Safety at 718-817-2222; if someone is in immediate danger, please immediately notify the Department of Public Safety at 718-817-2222. There is no legal obligation for a bystander to act or intervene.

The following are suggestions for safe and positive bystander actions:


  • Take steps to stop a friend who chooses to use violence.
  • Ask a friend, acquaintance, or stranger who is attempting to take sexual advantage of another to stop and leave the location.
  • Take the initiative to help friends who aren’t thinking clearly avoid becoming targets of violence.
  • Prevent an intoxicated person from going to a private location with an acquaintance or friend.
  • Recognize dating or domestic partners who cause fear or physical pain to their partner, and voice your concerns where appropriate (e.g., by referring the person to the counseling center).
  • Avoid situations where intoxicated people (complainants, respondents, or both) may be unable to consent.
  • Contact the Department of Public Safety at 718-817-2222, the dean of students, or another person of authority who can assist.


  • Don’t leave a friend or acquaintance alone at a party or bar.
  • Don't escalate the situation.
  • Don't remain silent.
  • Don't stand by.

Am I Required to Intervene and Act as a Bystander?

No, there is no legal obligation in New York state for a bystander of a potentially violent situation or crime to intervene or act.

Help Create a Safer Campus Environment.

Fordham University educates students in the Jesuit tradition, which includes promoting deep respect for individuals and others, and creating a community of responsible citizens. Bystanders are encouraged to act if there are safe and reasonable ways to intervene or discourage people from being uncivil toward each other in an effort to foster a safer environment for everyone. Campus security authorities are required to act in certain circumstances and must report all incidents immediately.

Updated: 8/18/23