Supporting the women around you

As a man, there are many positive actions you can take to support women and girls – whether it’s at home, work, or in public.

If you see violence taking place, it’s important not to cause more harm, and instead try to diffuse the situation.

A simple way to do this is to familiarise yourself with the 5Ds of Bystander Prevention.


This is where you tackle the abuse head on. This should be done with caution and it’s important to assess the situation beforehand – your safety, the victim’s safety, whether this interaction will make things worse, and if the victim needs you to speak up.

If you think the situation is safe enough for everyone involved, then it could be time to intervene.

Your next actions should aim to be short and concise. Engaging in prolonged dialogue could cause the situation to worsen, so ensure you are able to interrupt the harassment and move away.


This is a very subtle and simple method of intervening without the harasser even noticing you have diffused the situation.

You can distract by engaging with the person being harassed directly – for example, by asking if they know the time, or when the next bus will arrive.

The key element to this technique is to not refer to the abuse you are witnessing but move the conversation or situation away from it.


This could be speaking to someone else to help you prevent any further abuse or harassment that you are witnessing.

If you are in a public place, find someone with authority, whether that be the police, a bouncer or member of staff. Ensure you give a clear and precise description of who is being harassed, what is happening, and who the person with authority should talk to in order to prevent any further abuse.


This form of intervention requires either recording or taking notes of the abuse you are witnessing. This form of intervention should be used when you are unable to support by being active in another way, or the person being harassed is already receiving support.

You should always ask the person being abused what they would like to do with the recording, to ensure they are comfortable with any next steps that may happen.


A delayed response to a situation can also be a good approach. Without wanting to endanger the person being abused or yourself, when a situation has de-escalated, calmed down, or the harasser has moved on, you are able to let the person know that what you witnessed was not acceptable.

You can be an active bystander by asking the victim if they are OK, if they need any support, or by offering to call them a taxi home – anything that can help after the assault has taken place.

How can I get help?

If you are experiencing abuse, you can report it to South Yorkshire Police by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency, or tell a family member, friend, or neighbour.

If you are worried about a loved one or someone you know, report it to South Yorkshire Police. They will listen.

South Yorkshire Police take all reports of abuse and violence very seriously.