Bystander Intervention Strategies (5D)

Safe and positive options to prevent harm or intervene when confronted with an incident of sexual misconduct

Sexual misconduct is defined as “conduct of a sexual nature that causes or could cause harm to others, and that the person knew or ought reasonably to have known could cause harm.” Incidents of sexual misconduct, as defined on the Spectrum of sexual misconduct, are any behaviours that do not fall in the healthy environment zone (a.k.a. green zone). Any behaviour in the toxic environment (a.k.a. not green zone) needs to be addressed. It is important to note that bystander intervention is the first line of defence to stop a specific incident of sexual misconduct, and will unfortunately not address the root causes of the incident.

Intervening early and often will help our work environment stay healthy and respectful. We are all on the same team and as good teammates, we should not be harming one another. Remember that you are not intervening for yourself, but for someone who needs your support in the moment. You are intervening because it is the right thing to do, because it is expected of all CAF members, and it is a meaningful way to ensure we are working toward a culture of respect and dignity for all.

So how can you do your part? Use the 5D’s of bystander intervention to guide your actions. Note that you can combine strategies for better effect (meaning, to quickly address the incident of sexual misconduct). In any case, use your judgment, common sense and consider your own strengths and weaknesses when choosing which approach may be best for you.

Strategies

Distract
Take the attention off the affected person. Approach the perpetrator or the affected person with an innocent question or a disruptive comment that interrupts the current situation and changes the tone.

 

Be Direct

Call the behaviour out directly. Intervention may be direct and obvious, such as stating directly to the perpetrator that the behaviour is unacceptable, or it may be less obvious, such as saying that what you are seeing is causing you concern and that you are worried about the negative impacts of such behaviour. It can be uncomfortable, but it is sometimes the most effective method to stop an unacceptable behaviour.

Delegate

Get help. Make sure that something is done, while acknowledging that you might not have the skill or capacity to handle it. Whether it’s brainstorming with other bystanders what to do next, or calling security or police. You can also talk with any leader, may it be your immediate supervisor, your unit harassment advisor, the RSM or the CO.

Delay

Wait until the situation winds down and then approach the affected person to offer support and see if they are OK. If you are able to, talk privately with the person who perpetrated the unacceptable behaviour after the incident. Express your opinion calmly and give clear feedback on the potential impacts of such behaviour.

Non-verbal Disapproval

Refuse to join in when derogatory, degrading, abusive, and violent attitudes or behaviours are being displayed. Through non-verbal behaviours, make it known that this behaviour is being noticed and that you disapprove.

Examples

Example Explanation 5D associated strategy

Name or acknowledge an example of sexual misconduct and open a dialogue for discussion

Name or identify sexual misconduct so it is not glossed over or ignored.

Direct

Publicly support an affected person

Help someone who has been the target of sexual misconduct and/or prevent further injury or offence.

Direct

Shake your head, or make a gesture with your hands suggesting the perpetrator stop.

Use body language to show disapproval. Refuse to join in when derogatory, degrading, abusive, and violent attitudes or behaviours are being displayed.

non-verbal Disapproval

Interrupt the behaviour

Intervention may be direct and obvious, such as stating directly to the offending person that the behaviour is unacceptable. Intervention can also be via subterfuge, such as interrupting an argument to ask for directions.

Direct / Distract

Talk privately with the person who acted inappropriately

Give clear feedback and express your opinion calmly. 

Delay

Talk privately with the person who is the target of the perpetrator

Express your opinion calmly and offer your support.  

Delay

Ask for help directly or indirectly

Make sure that something is done, while acknowledging that you do not have the skill or capacity to handle it. You can talk with your immediate supervisor, to the respondent’s immediate supervisor, to your unit harassment advisor, to the RSM, or to the CO, for example.

Delegate

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: