Evaluation of a Bystander Education Program

Sexual and partner violence are widespread problems on college campuses. By changing attitudes, beliefs, and behavior, bystander education programs have been found to prevent sexual and partner violence and improve the responses of peers to survivors. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness and feasibility of a bystander education program that was adapted to a specific university setting. A convenience sample of 202, full-time undergraduate students aged 18-22 years participated in the bystander education program and completed pre- and post-test measures of attitudes related to sexual and partner violence and willingness to help. Paired sample t-tests were used to examine changes in scores between pre- and post-test conditions. After the program, participants' reported decreased rape myth acceptance and denial of interpersonal violence, and increased intention to act as a bystander and an increased sense of responsibility to intervene. Mental health nurses can use principles of bystander education in violence prevention programs and in providing support to survivors.