The 3 D’s to Bystander Intervention on Campus

The 3 D’s to Bystander Intervention on Campus

Students may very well witness or become victims of sexual violence. Unfortunately, very few of these witnesses or victims report sexual violence. In fact, only 20% of female student sexual assault victims report it to law enforcement. With that being said, it’s critical that all of us play a role in reducing sexual violence on campus through bystander intervention. 

In 2006, Dorothy Edwards founded The Green Dot Bystander Intervention Program which trains people about sexual assault and domestic violence on college campuses. It teaches students, faculty, and staff to intervene by using the 3 D's: Direct, Distract, and Delegate. The 3 D’s provide strategies that can help someone intervene in a potentially harmful situation.

EDU - K12 Staff Training - Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Content Library

Green Dot & The 3 D’s

As defined by the Center for Women and Families, Green Dot is a comprehensive violence prevention strategy that depends on the power of bystanders to prevent violence and shift social and cultural norms. Green Dot sees all community members as potential active bystanders and seeks to safely engage them in violence prevention. Active bystanders do “green dots” by expressing intolerance for violence through both proactive and reactive behaviors. A green dot is an action, behavior, or choice that promotes safety for everyone while a red dot situation can be a threat or an individual's choice to do nothing. The 3 D’s stands for Direct, Distract, and Delegate. These are the three main reactive green dot strategies when intervening in a potential red dot situation. It doesn’t matter which of the 3 D’s you do, as long as you choose one of them instead of standing by. Let’s take a closer look at the 3 D’s:


Direct is when someone intervenes in a situation by directly addressing those involved. Examples:

  • Ask the victim if they are okay or uncomfortable.
  • Directly address the aggressor.
  • Tell the aggressor directly involved to stop.
  • Say things like, “That’s not okay!” or, “What you are doing is not cool.”
  • Ask things like, “Is this person bothering you?” or, “Is there anything I can do to help?”


Distract is when someone can indirectly intervene in a potential red dot situation by intentionally distracting those involved. Examples:

  • Accidentally spilling a drink on the aggressor.
  • Ask if the victim would like to go to the restroom.
  • Pretend you lost your keys and ask the victim for help.
  • Tell the victim that someone is looking for them.


Delegate is when someone does not feel comfortable intervening, so they ask someone else to help who may be more equipped. Examples:

  • Call a friend or family member.
  • Call campus safety or report a tip (directly or anonymously).
  • Talk to a professor or RA.
  • Talk to upperclassmen in that club, association, or sports team. 
  • In an urgent emergency, call 911. 

It’s critical to educate students, faculty, and staff on the importance of being a proactive bystander and how to safely intervene when they witness assaultive behavior to ensure campus safety. If you see something that you are unsure of, you can say or do something directly to address the red dot situation, create a distraction for the aggressor or victim in the red dot situation, or delegate action to someone else who feels comfortable intervening. 

Here’s How Vector Solutions Can Help

Vector Solutions is excited to announce that our popular Sexual Violence Prevention Education Program has been enhanced to better reflect today's modern campus, and is available now!

Our Content and Expert Author Team worked diligently to enhance our program to serve as an even better resource for colleges and universities to empower students to be positive bystanders against sexual violence. Our new course features:

  • Up-to-date testimonials and scenarios 
  • New interactivity
  • Updated design
  • Shift to student empowerment

This powerful, interactive course is designed to encourage students to be more proactive bystanders against sexual violence. Learn more about the impactful changes we made below and request a free trial to learn more about our new program.

Want to Know More?

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