This article details a study into an experimental design to determine how bystanders would intervene in campus sexual assault (SA) or intimate partner violence (IPV) situations.
This study utilized an experimental design to determine how bystanders would intervene in campus sexual assault (SA) or intimate partner violence (IPV) situations. Specifically, it examines whether the type of intervention (direct, indirect, or delegation) is associated with relational distance, the nature of the crime, or the sex of the bystander. A random sample of college students completed a web-based survey at a private university in the Midwest. Survey participants were randomly assigned two vignettes—an SA scenario (n = 371) and an IPV scenario (n = 350)—with one of three conditions: knew the victim, knew the perpetrator, or knew neither. Chi-square tests, binary logistic regressions, and predicted probabilities were conducted to test three hypotheses. Results indicate that relational distance affects how a bystander will intervene. In the SA vignette, students who knew the victim or perpetrator chose direct intervention. In the IPV vignette, students who knew the victim or perpetrator chose direct or indirect interventions. Students who knew neither the victim nor the perpetrator tended to choose to delegate the intervention to someone else for both crime types. Although there were differences by sex, the larger differences were between whether they knew someone or not. Still, men had the highest probability of directly intervening in the SA scenario, whereas women had the highest probability of indirectly intervening in the IPV scenario. The results of this study suggest that campus violence prevention programs should consider context-specific issues in their trainings such as relational distance and type of crime. (Published abstract provided)