Skip to main content Skip to main navigation Skip to footer content

Green Dot Bystander Intervention Program

What is Green Dot?

The Green Dot Violence Prevention Strategy is a national program that trains students, faculty, and staff in bystander intervention to help prevent power-based personal violence. Traditional prevention programs tend to focus on men as potential perpetrators and women as potential victims, Green Dot approaches all people as allies of the program and focuses instead on gender-independent power-based personal violence scenarios. The Green Dot program relies on the premise that if everyone does their small part and commits to individual responsibility, the combined efforts create a safe campus culture that does not tolerate violence.

Power-based personal violence (PBPV) is a form of violence where one person asserts their power, control, or intimidates another person to cause harm in a variety of ways. This includes relationship violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and harassment. These moments of violence that occur on campus are referred to as “red dots.” A “green dot” is defined as any action, choice, word, or attitude that displaces a “red dot” or PBPV, reducing the possibility that someone will be hurt in that situation. A green dot is anything you can do to make our community safer. 

Want to attend?

If you are interested in attending or scheduling a Green Dot training, please fill out the Green Dot Interest Form and a member of the IWU Green Dot team will reach out to you with our upcoming training. If you have any questions about our Green Dot Program please contact .

Green Dot Examples:

Green Dots are broken down by being proactive or reactive to a red dot situation.

Proactive Green Dots: Small things that people can do to prevent PBPV from happening. This includes steps that are taken prior to a red dot situation even occurring.  

Proactive Green Dot Examples:

  • Have a conversation about ending PBPV with your friends.
  • Displaying a green dot sticker.
  • Looking out for friends in social situations where people could potentially be at a higher risk for PBPV.
  • Attending Green Dot Trainings.
  • Talk about the green dots that you’ve personally done

Reactive Green Dots: Are things people can do to intervene in a red dot situation while it is occurring or an action that someone can complete when they believe a situation might lead to something high risk.  Reactive Green Dots come in the form of the 3 D’s: Direct, Distract, and Delegate.

Direct: A green dot when you handle the situation directly with confrontation.

Distract: A green dot where you distract from the situation by changing the conversation and energy.

Delegate: A green dot where you find someone else who you feel might be more successful in fixing the situation., could be a bartender, campus safety officer, or other friends. 

Direct - Distract - Delegate graphic

Reactive Green Dot Examples:

  • Ask if you suspect your friend might be in a toxic or abusive relationship and provide any resources they may want.
  • If you see someone spike another person’s drink stop them and call the police.
  • If you leave a social gathering early, make sure that the people you came with have a safe way to get back.
  • Ensure that organizations you’re involved with collaborate with prevention efforts on campus.
  • If you hear any sounds that sound like fighting or yelling in a residence hall or apartment I contact the RA or staff on call.
  • Have open conversations about consent and about how it is necessary to ask for consent at all stages in a physical relationship.


What are barriers?

People naturally want to help when they see another person in trouble, but barriers sometimes stand in our way when making the choice to step in. No matter who you are or what barriers may exist for you, everyone can do their own part to help add more green dots to our campus. Working with your barriers and thinking through what they are instead of quickly trying to change them is what makes Green Dot a good fit for everyone.

Thinking Through Barriers:

Have you walked past a situation and thought that’s not any of my business or I don’t want to escalate a situation someone else can handle it? Green Dot is a reminder that for members of a community, the safety of those around us is all of our responsibility. Any small act to step in and step up to helping others helps to care for your community. 

  • Personal Barriers: Personal barriers are personality traits or experiences that someone has had that make it significantly more difficult to step in. Maybe it is a bad experience with confrontation or anxiety about conflict, green dot can help us to remember that direct intervention is only one of the ways that you can step in. Texting a more extraverted friend or someone who of calling Campus Safety are legitimate ways to intervene and sometimes

  • Relationship Barriers: Relationship barriers have to do with how well or little we might know people involved in a situation, who are we with, and how those dynamics affect our response. Often being direct is easier when we are close to any of the people involved but if we know people involved sometimes it might feel more difficult to intervene with people we know. Delegating can often be the easiest way to intervene to someone who might know the people better or delegating to someone who has more training is the right way to go. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter which green dot you choose, it matters that you do something.  

Recognizing Red Dots

A red dot is a moment where someone’s choices, words, behaviors, or actions contribute to or tolerate PBPV in any way.

The following definitions all represent red dots:
Power Based Personal Violence: a form of violence that has as a primary motivator the assertion of power, control, and/or intimidation in order to harm another.  This includes partner violence, sexual assault, stalking, and other uses of force, threats, intimidation, or harassment of an individual.  It also includes the use of alcohol or drugs to commit any of these acts.  These acts are inclusive of acts committed by strangers, friends, acquaintances, intimates, or other persons.

Sexual Violence: Any sexual contact that lacks consent and/or capacity to give consent

Partner Violence: Physical, sexual, or psychological harm, or threat of harm, by a current or former partner

Stalking: Course of conduct targeted at an individual or group that would cause a reasonable person to feel afraid (following, obsessive Facebooking, texting, calling, unwanted letters, gifts, etc)

If you or a friend have experienced a red dot and are looking for resources, please check out some of your options below:

  • Counseling and Consultation Services, 309-556-3052
  • Arnold Health Services, 309-556-3107
  • Dean of Students Office, 309-556-3111
  • IWU Campus Safety, 309-556-1111
  • Stepping Stones, YWCA’s local McLean sexual assault program, 309-556-7000
  • Bloomington Police, 911 or 309-820-8888

The Green Dot Strategy and Training

Everyone has been and will be a bystander at some point, but the green dot strategy provides the training to make the choice to do something when that moment may arise. Greendot works on an individual level to create change within a community, driving people to act against violence. All of these individual actions create momentum against PBPV allowing people to see themselves acting with others as a part of something bigger.

One of the biggest proactive green dots that you can do on campus is going to a green dot training. These trainings are designed to give you the skills in order to do green dots in your daily life. Through videos, conversations, discussions, role-plays, and interactive activities, people will learn how to identify red dots, the barriers that exist, and how to find the most helpful green dot in different situations.