Green Dot Bystander Intervention
By LaKesha Gamble, Community Educator
The Green Dot Bystander Intervention program is an educational approach used to prevent violence and reduce power-based personal violence with the help of active bystanders. Because research shows that violence can be measurably and systematically reduced within communities, the goal of Green Dot is to reduce sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, child abuse, elder abuse, and bullying. A “Green Dot” simply represents any behavior, choice, or action that promotes safety. Green Dot principles are illustrated by imagining that any act of power-based violence within your community can be represented on a map with red dots. Most communities see evidence of many acts of violence. Therefore, the map of any given community can be covered with countless red dots. When community members become active bystanders, they actually do something to combat those red dots. The actions of active bystanders are able to replace the red dots on the map with green dots. Hence, the Green Dot program creates a premise based on the intolerance for power-based violence.
The Green Dot approach offers training to assist community members in learning how to intervene when witnessing acts of power-based violence, such as domestic violence or sexual assault. The methods taught in the model include how individuals might use a direct approach, delegate the responsibility to others when needed, and/or create distractions to decrease dangerous situations. This training also prepares participants on how to respond when witnessing a potential act of violence. Bystanders are taught about the importance of being proactive and reactive in efforts to make cultural changes within their communities. The goal of a proactive green dot is to establish a norm that violence will not be tolerated and that an expectation exists for all community members to do his or her part to contribute to fostering a safe community. Reactive green dots are actions carried out by community members after witnessing concerning behaviors or potential dangers, that either stops them from happening or decreases the likelihood that a situation will get worse. All green dots are behaviors, choices, or actions that promote safety and a sense of community.
The Green Dot approach provides a platform to integrate, educate, and activate community members toward the progress of safer communities and societal change. The core belief of the Green Dot strategy is that all individuals are capable of positive action and individual impact. Acts of violence and destruction are less likely to occur when people are equipped with the skills and motivations necessary to act against power-based violence. Every individual can play a role in finding small ways to set safe social norms among their peers in the community and promote lasting change. The Green Dot approach comprehensively teaches bystander habits, the power of peer influence, actionable solutions, ways to promote a safe culture, and methods of sustaining behavior changes that will result in a reduction of violence. A common Green Dot Bystander Intervention motto is “No one has to do everything, but everyone can do something.” Change in the area of power-based personal violence is possible. Will you take the Green Dot Bystander Intervention challenge?
*For more information about Green Dot Bystander Intervention and training, please contact the Community Educator at S.A.F.E., Inc.
At S.A.F.E., we live the Green Dot message. No one has to do everything, but everyone can do something. Become an active bystander today.
By: Madison Caver, Social Worker
Sally initially called our crisis line looking for a safe place to go. She was actively trying to get away from her abusive spouse. Sally was married for 16 years with two children. Her husband was verbally and physically abusive. Sally reported that she and her children experienced the abuse on a regular basis. Finally, one night, Sally decided that she no longer wanted to expose her children to this environment.
After calling S.A.F.E., Inc., Sally and her children were admitted to the shelter. During their stay at the shelter, Sally and her children received multiple services that were offered. These services included counseling, court advocacy, case management, and daycare. Court advocacy and legal services were provided to assist with protection orders and divorce. Sally attended group and individual therapy sessions. The children attended educational groups with S.A.F.E., Inc.’s Community Educator. The entire family received case management for housing, medical, and hygiene assistance.
With help from S.A.F.E., Inc., Sally and her children were able to obtain affordable housing and start over with a new and healthy lifestyle. They received household items from our warehouse of donated goods. Sally was happy to make a safe home for her children to live and complete their education successfully. She continues to keep in contact with staff and shares details about their abuse free home.
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