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Bystander intervention from the victims' perspective: experiences, impacts and justice needs of street harassment victims

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This article examines street harassment victims' experiences of bystander intervention in incidents of harassment. Drawing on the findings of a mixed-methods pilot study undertaken in Melbourne, Australia, it considers what forms these interventions took and the impact(s) they had on the harassment. It examines the impact(s) that bystander intervention had on participants. Findings suggest that bystander intervention is not common in incidents of street harassment. When it does occur, its impact is highly variable. Yet, bystander intervention is also central in informing victims' perceptions of safety, harm and justice. These findings present some important implications and complexities for bystander research and education and these are considered in closing.

Key Messages

• Bystander intervention was not common in incidents of street harassment.

• Where bystander intervention does occur, the outcome is highly varied.

• Bystander intervention often reduced the perceived harm of an incident of street harassment, and can form an important component of street harassment victims' justice needs.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: December 2017

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Gender-Based Violence (JGBV), is the first international journal based in Europe to show case the work of scholars across disciplinary and topic boundaries, and from a range of methodologies.

    The journal acknowledges both the breadth of gender-based violence (GBV) and its links to gendered inequalities. It aims to continue to document the voices and experiences of victims and survivors of GBV, to publish work regarding those who perpetrate GBV and of the varied and complex social structures, inequalities and gender norms through which GBV is produced and sustained. The journal recognises the intersection of gender with other identities and power relations, such as ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, faith, disability and economic status.

    JGBV will publish high quality papers that contribute to understanding of GBV, policy, and/or activism, on sexual violence, domestic abuse, ‘honour’-based violence, prostitution, trafficking and/or reproductive violence and abuse in a wide range of intimate, familial, community and societal contexts.

    The editors invite interest from scholars working across the social sciences and related fields including social policy, sociology, politics, criminology, law, social psychology, development and economics, as well as disciplines allied to medicine, health and wellbeing.

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