Evaluation of the Intervention Initiative: A Bystander Intervention Program to Prevent Violence Against Women in Universities

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Violence against women students is increasingly recognized as a significant public health and human rights issue. The Intervention Initiative is a facilitated bystander intervention educational program commissioned by Public Health England for use by all English universities to prevent violence, abuse, and coercion. The success of the program with first-year law students at a large university in the South West of England was evaluated through course evaluation feedback and in a questionnaire study. Student experience was exceptionally good across all measures. In paired sample t tests, prosocial bystander behavior did not increase significantly from pretest to post-test immediately after taking part in the program. Rape myth acceptance, domestic abuse myth acceptance, and denial decreased significantly (p < .001; d > .599). Bystander efficacy, readiness to help, and responsibility increased significantly (p < .001; d = .408-.703), and intent to help increased significantly (p = .007, d = .248). Exposure to a concurrent social marketing campaign on campus had a significant strengthening effect on improvement of attitudes to rape myths (p = .010) but not any other outcome measures. No significant backlash was identified.

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