How to be an active bystander
ALPINE Health will this month deliver a series of bystander training events across Alpine Shire’s three major townships as part of 16 days of activism to prevent violence against women.
Alpine Health health promotion officer Lisa Neville, who will facilitate the ‘Courageous Conversations’ sessions, said bystander training empowered people to take action and make a difference.
“We held the program earlier this year and had an absolutely amazing response from the community,” she said.
“We want to change the culture that makes violence acceptable in our community and as part of the sessions we’ll look at the attitudes and behaviours that can predict violence, whether it’s against women or men, and look at the continuum for gender stereotypes.
“It’s about supporting people to have the tools to be able to take bystander action and hopefully they will walk away with really tangible ideas and responses for different settings and scenarios.”
Ms Neville said there were a number of reasons why people were reluctant to intervene when they saw or heard actions that were violent or disrespectful.
“The biggest reason people often don’t get involved in these situations is because of the number of people around,” she said.
“If there’s only one or two people around one person will gener- ally say something but if you’re in a bigger crowd people’s general thinking is that someone else will speak up.
“People also don’t take action because of the possible repercussions of doing so.
“If they know the person they might feel it could ruin a friendship.
“What we aim to teach people is how to be a bystander, what are appropriate actions to take in a safe way being mindful of your own safety.
“If we make it more normal for people to take action then the repercussions are less and less and it just becomes normal behaviour.”
The ‘16 Days of Activism’ campaign starts on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25 and ends on December 10, International Human Rights Day.
This year’s campaign aims to go beyond awareness-raising to focus on attitudinal and behaviour change.
‘ Courageous Conversations’ is open to community members, sporting clubs and work places.
Sessions will take place at Alpine Health’s offices in Myrtleford (November 28), Bright (November 29) and Mt Beauty (November 30), with all sessions starting at 5.30pm.
To book a place go to www. eventbrite. com and search for ‘Alpine health events’.