Recent literature shows that bystanders often intervene in conflicts they witness on the streets. This is usually evaluated as a positive finding, indicating that people can rely on others when they feel unsafe or are being harmed. However, this does not mean that every intervention is actually helpful in solving the conflict or protecting the victim, neither that the helping behavior is safe for the bystander to perform. However, little research has explored the possible consequences of bystander intervention for the bystander self, the victim or the conflict in general.
Therefore, this project aims to give more insight into the possible consequences of bystander intervention during interpersonal conflicts in public space. To understand short-term consequences for the conflict in general, the victim, and the bystander self, as well as long-term consequences for both the victim and the bystander of a conflict, a mixed methods approach will be used. Short-term consequences will be investigated by using CCTV footage of interpersonal conflicts in public space, whereas long-term consequences will be examined during interviews with victims of conflicts where a bystander did or did not intervene, and with bystanders themselves. To be able to see whether certain consequences are generalizable across different contexts, video footage of several different conflict categories will be analyzed (e.g. street-fights, robberies).
The project will result in a thesis where both positive and negative consequences of bystander intervention will be set out, in order to be able to give a well-considered advice to people about whether or not to intervene in certain interpersonal conflicts in public space, and, when intervening, which risks to take into account.