The Intervention Initiative -
A bystander education programme

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What is the Intervention Initiative and what is it for?

The extent of sexual harassment, sexual coercion, rape and domestic abuse in student populations across England has been revealed in evidence from crime surveys, student surveys and professionals working with students. The evidence has produced an imperative for universities to act. This resource is a response to that imperative.

The Intervention Initiative is a free resource for universities and further education settings in England, developed in 2014 by the University of the West of England on receipt of a grant from Public Health England. It is an evidence-based educational programme for the prevention of sexual coercion and domestic abuse in university settings, through empowering students to act as prosocial citizens. The evidence review which was used to develop the programme is published by Public Health England.

The Intervention Initiative is a programme of eight facilitated sessions, each lasting for 60 minutes (minimum) to 90 minutes. The content of each of the sessions is provided in the form of facilitator notes, Powerpoint slides and handouts. There is an accompanying resource setting out the theoretical rationale for the programme across all eight sessions. Evaluation is built into the programme.

Who can use the resource?

The resource is free for anyone to use, to reproduce and amend in the service of violence prevention and with acknowledgements to UWE and Public Health England.

If you are using this resource, or would like to use it in your institution, please register your interest. We are keen to collect information about the uptake of the programme over time.

What about the structure and delivery of the programme?

The programme is designed to be delivered across 8 separate sessions, each of one hour minimum in length. Each session has a different purpose and each session is a necessary element. Evidence on behaviour change and evidence from meta-analyses of similar programmes suggests that for lasting effects, this length and duration should be viewed as a minimum. In other words, it is unlikely that attempts to adapt or condense the programme would ultimately result in significant lasting change for the participants.

The programme is designed to be delivered by experienced facilitators. While there are benefits for students in working with peer facilitators, it is not recommended that this programme – particularly the last 3 sessions - be delivered by inexperienced teachers/facilitators unless they have had ample training in facilitation skills.

How to cite this resource

Fenton, R. A., Mott, H. L., McCartan, K. and Rumney, P. (2014). The Intervention Initiative. Bristol: UWE and Public Health England. Online at

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