Bystander education: Bringing a broader community perspective to sexual violence prevention


Recent research documents the problem of sexual violence across communities, often finding its causes to be embedded in community and cultural norms, thus demonstrating the need for community-focused solutions. In this article we synthesize research from community psychology on community change and prevention with more individually focused studies of sexual violence prevention programs and bystander behavior in emergency and crime situations. The purpose of bringing together this research is to outline a new area of focus for sexual violence prevention: the mobilization of prosocial behavior on the part of potential bystanders. This approach has utility for increasing community receptivity to prevention messages, by decreasing resistance to them, and for increasing the likelihood of community members taking an active role in prevention and intervention. The specific case of sexual violence prevention on college campus communities illustrates this approach.

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Journal of Community Psychology



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© 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Comm Psychol 32: 61–79, 2004.