A bystander is a person who is present and witnesses something but is not directly involved in it whereas aactive bystander is someone who not only witnesses a situation, but takes action to keep a situation from escalating or to disrupt a problematic situation.

In today's society, with the prominence of movements such as #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, and prejudice arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are asking 'what can I do to help?' 

Active bystanders are valuable allies in combating disrespectful behaviour, attitudes and systems and play a pivotal role in helping prevent incidents from occurring in the first place. But you don’t become one by just talking or posting about it. It requires self-education and action.

Read more on how to be an active bystander and safely intervene in future situations.

Sahana Nandakumar  Chair of the Board, Arc@UNSW


"There is no doubt that we all want to be better, but there is often the question of where and how we could take that step of improvement. This initiative aims to bring those answers to you. There's no better way to enhance the UNSW community than being better humans. " Sahana Nandakumar Chair of the Board, Arc@UNSW

Ways to be an active bystander

Below we explore how to be an active bystander and respond to situations appropriately.

If you or someone you know has experienced any form of racism, discrimination, harassment or bullying and would like to talk to someone about it or make an official complaint, a range of confidential services are available