To Help or Not to Help? Challenges and Opportunities for Bystanders in Violence Prevention


Program Description:

Interpersonal violence (including sexual assault, relationship abuse, stalking) is a widespread problem particularly for adolescents and young adults. A promising prevention strategy includes mobilizing people who witness violence (bystanders) to take helpful actions. But helping is complicated and includes both costs and benefits. In this presentation findings from research about the pros and cons of helping particular in the context of college campus communities is discussed. Implications for community prevention efforts are also presented.


Victoria Banyard

Victoria Banyard is a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of New Hampshire with affiliations in Justice Studies and Prevention Innovations. She received her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan with a certificate in Women's Studies. She completed an NIMH research postdoctoral fellowship with the Family Research Laboratory here at UNH and postdoctoral clinical training at the Trauma Center in Boston. She teaches courses in community psychology, interpersonal violence, and service learning courses such as internship. Her research has focused on understanding the strengths and challenges of women facing stresses such as poverty and family violence. She has documented the negative mental health effects of such circumstances as well as the resilience that trauma survivors and others experiencing overwhelming stressors evidence. She has been the principal investigator on several grants to evaluate the effectiveness of innovative campus sexual assault prevention tools. She speaks regularly on the problems of sexual and relationship abuse for communities and prevention strategies to address them. She also has a new book out titled, "Toward the Next Generation of Bystander Prevention of Sexual and Relationship Violence".

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