Prevention Education

Hope College’s interpersonal violence prevention education focuses on awareness programs, bystander intervention, risk reduction and primary prevention programs. 

Passive and active programing and awareness opportunities are available for the campus community throughout each academic year.

Awareness programs consist of campus-wide programming, initiatives and opportunities aimed to increase knowledge of resources and information to prevent forms of violence, promote safety and reduce perpetration of violence.
Primary prevention programs consist of programming, initiatives and opportunities intended to stop interpersonal violence before it occurs. The focus of primary prevention includes promoting healthy and respectful behaviors, understanding and expressing personal boundaries, encouraging mutually respectful dating relationships, healthy sexuality and safe bystander intervention.
Risk reduction is aimed at providing students with information to reduce their risk of experiencing or perpetrating forms of interpersonal violence. Risk reduction education can range from alcohol and drug education, looking out for friends, safety planning, and understanding, establishing and respecting personal boundaries. This form of education is not considered a primary form of prevention; however, risk reduction is an essential component to interpersonal violence prevention as a whole.
Bystander intervention is a community-oriented approach to violence prevention and promoting a community of safety and respect. These skills can be carried out by an individual or a group of individuals to prevent harm and reduce the risk of a potentially harmful situation from getting worse. This includes recognizing potential harmful behaviors and situations, recognizing barriers or obstacles to intervening, identifying safe and effective options for intervening, and taking action to intervene. Currently, Hope College uses the Green Dot model for bystander intervention education.

Bystander Intervention tips

If you see a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable or is a “red flag,” be an active bystander and safely intervene:


If it is safe to do so, directly confront the situation by checking in, asking if everything is okay or stating that you feel uncomfortable with what’s happening.


Do something to distract those involved in the situation. This can diffuse the situation, reduce risk of anything bad happening, and give you time to follow up and make sure everything is okay.


Get others involved. This can be getting a close friend to help you or finding someone with authority like your RA, contacting Campus Safety at 616.395.7000 or calling 911.

Proactive Bystander Opportunities

Bring a proactive bystander means doing little things every day through our words, thoughts and actions that promote a campus of safety, healthy relationships, care and respect. Proactive bystander techniques promote two main ideas:

  1. Violence is not tolerated in our community
  2. We each have a responsibility to positively contribute to our community

Here are some ideas of ways that you can be proactive:

  • Post a relevant article on your Facebook page
  • Sign the It’s On Us Campaign pledge
  • Learn about campus and community resources
  • Attend a campus event related to interpersonal violence prevention
  • Talk with a friend about being an active and proactive bystander
  • Wear an It’s On Us Hope t-shirt
  • Use the hashtag #ItsOnUsHope
  • Follow STEP and It’s On Us Hope on Facebook
  • Request a STEP educator presentation by emailing
  • Change the signature line on your email to include a relevant quote or link to the It’s On Us Campaign website