How can I help someone in need?

Be an active bystander!

If you see a situation where someone is being harassed, speak up or get help. Unsure of how you can help in difficult situations? Find out what you should do when you witness violent behaviour towards women and girls:


  • Assess the situation: Are you in a safe place? Are there other people who could help should you need it? Do you have a phone that you can call for help if you need to? Before intervening, consider all of this.
  • Let your presence be known: Talk directly to the person who is being harassed and ask them if they’re ok and if they would like help.
  • Make suggestions: If you are in a public space, suggest you go somewhere else. Perhaps this is somewhere populated with more people - like a shop or cafe. If you are on public transport, ask if they would like you to go with them to the next carriage or offer to sit next to them. Don’t push them if they seem uncomfortable with you, just make sure they know you are there for them.
  • Call for help: If the situation is continuing or escalating further, look for someone in a position of authority to help. Depending on where you are, this could be security at a bar or in a nightclub, a train conductor, bus driver or a member of staff. Ask them to help you diffuse the situation and if needed, to call the police.
  • Contact the police: If the situation becomes violent, or if someone is in immediate danger then ring 999. If it’s unsafe to speak, you can then press ‘55’ and you will be transferred to a police call handler trained to deal with ‘silent calls’.


  • Don’t intervene if it is unsafe: If you or the person being harassed is unsafe immediately dial 999 and call for help.
  • Don’t escalate the situation: Try not to engage in conversation that will escalate and do not incite violence with the perpetrator. If they become hostile, call 999.
  • Don’t take control: Make sure you are supportive of the victim but you need to let them deal with it in their own way too.

If you see misogyny, harassment, or sexual violence taking place - don’t stay silent. Even if you are unable to intervene yourself, make sure you get help elsewhere or report it to an appropriate person. Silence permits violence and can cause damage to those who may desperately need your help. If you need help in understanding how to identify this behaviour, visit this page.