BeVOCAL is a university-wide initiative that empowers Longhorns like you with skills and knowledge to prevent high-risk behavior and harm through active bystander intervention. Bystander intervention is recognizing a potentially harmful situation or interaction and choosing to respond in a way that could positively influence the outcome. BeVOCAL is designed to address multiple types of harm and enhance your confidence to intervene. BeVOCAL believes that while the issues or types of harm may be different, the action steps to intervention, potential barriers and resources are consistent.

Three Step Model

BeVOCAL uses a simple three step model to enhance bystander intervention:

Recognize Potential Harm

Harm can come in many forms and is anything that creates a negative physical, mental, emotional or social impact. Examples of harm that you may witness include:

  • Concerning behavior
  • Harassment
  • Bias incidents
  • Interpersonal violence
  • Substance use and misuse
  • Academic dishonesty
  • Mental health, distress and suicide
  • Hazing

Choose to Respond

Choosing to respond involves assessing the situation and assessing how you can overcome barriers to respond. In this step it is helpful to consider the positive impact you could have on the individual and your community.

Take Action

There are many ways to intervene; using any strategy to reduce harm is bystander intervention. Direct and indirect intervention strategies include:

  • Document: Track patterns of behavior by taking screenshots, notes or video.
  • Delegate: Ask others for help if you do not know how to confront the situation by yourself or need support in intervening.
  • Delay: Check in with the person harmed, offer resources or referrals and report the situation. In some cases, UT policy may require you to report.
  • Distract: Take an indirect approach to de-escalate the situation or stop it from continuing further.
  • Direct: Assess your safety first. Then directly address the person causing harm by asking a clarifying question or by explaining why their behavior is harmful.

If you don’t feel comfortable using these strategies, another form of indirect action is to help connect the person to resources. This could include:

No matter how you choose to take action, know that there is no hierarchy to these intervention strategies. Always assess your safety, then choose a situation-appropriate form of action that best works for that situation

How to Get Involved

BeVOCAL’s work is bolstered by the involvement of campus partners including students. Here are a few ways you can get more engaged with BeVOCAL:

  • Request a BeVOCAL workshop: BeVOCAL offers interactive workshops tailored to UT Austin faculty, staff and students.
  • Follow BeVOCAL on social media @bevocalut.
  • Request bystander intervention materials.
  • Request a consultation or collaborate with BeVOCAL. To do this, call 512-475-8252 or email
  • Attend a BeVOCAL event.
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