Step Up! (Be a Leader, Make a Difference) Bystander Intervention

The goals of Step UP! are to “raise awareness of helping behaviors, increase motivation to help, develop skills and confidence when responding to problems or concerns, and ensure the safety and well-being of self and others.”

University of Arizona CATS Life Skills Program and the NCAA
Image of Step Up! (Be a Leader, Make a Difference) Bystander Intervention
Program Name Level of Evidence Format Target Audience Special Features
Step Up! (Be a Leader, Make a Difference) Bystander Intervention
Supported By Evidence
  • In-person Workshop
  • Undergraduate students
Offers a custom version for student athletes
  • Train the Trainer. Those interested in becoming facilitators of the Step Up! program can sign up for a Train the Trainer webinar, attend a national in person training program hosted annually, and/or utilize online guides and resources through the website. Downloadable facilitator guides are available for free and further information can be gathered by contacting the Step UP! program directly.
  • Initial Training and Sexual Assault Subtopic. The initial Step UP! training is based on proven theories and lasts 90 minutes. It raises awareness about the barriers to intervention, then teaches strategies and skills to overcome those barriers including the 5 Steps, the 5 Ds, the SEEK Model, perspective taking, obedience to perceived authority, community building, and more. An additional program specifically about Sexual Assault is available once one has completed the Initial Training and lasts approximately an hour. The PowerPoint presentation combines myth busting and statistics to educate participants on the realities of sexual violence and challenge common misconceptions. Other content includes consent, the sexual violence continuum, warning signs, action steps, and resources. The presentation closes with scenarios allowing participants to apply their knowledge and skills to real world examples of risky situations they may encounter. Program methods include: videos, live polling, discussion, collaboration, and a PowerPoint presentation.

Training in Sexual Assault bystander intervention by Step UP! requires participation in two sessions. Participants must attend a 90-minute initial training before attending a 60- minute Sexual Assault bystander intervention program.

  • Facilitators can attend a national training program or materials from the website prepare to lead presentations. The Step UP! website provides further information on how to present material.
  • The initial Step UP! training (which must be completed before the Sexual Assault topic presentation) uses a PowerPoint presentation, video clips, discussion questions, and can include role-play activities which are all available online or in print.
  • The Sexual Assault topic presentation, which can be tailored to include local resources and information, is available as a PDF.
Theoretical Basis For Approach

Step UP! aims to shift campus cultures using a bystander intervention model. Theoretical bases for the design of the program include: bystander intervention pro-social behavior, motivational interviewing, cognitive dissonance, the trans-theoretical model, and social norms. There is also a focus on the role social and cultural identifiers play and the impact they have on whether or not someone intervenes.

Program Effectiveness

A study using data from 731 students across 49 trainings evaluated the Step UP! Bystander Intervention Program was published in the American Journal of Health Studies. The results found that significantly more student-athletes compared to non-athletes reported witnessing 4 of the 5 problem behaviors, and participation significantly improved knowledge, attitudes, and self-efficacy to use bystander intervention behaviors among collegiate student-athletes and non-athletes.


Visit the Step Up website to see a full list of participating institutions.


The Sexual Assault topic presentation is not a stand-alone program. Thus, administrators should consider implementing Step UP! in its entirety which requires an additional 90 minute presentation but also presents the opportunity for other topic presentations to be utilized.


Training and program materials are available online at no cost.


Orsini, M. M., Milroy, J. J., Bernick, J. B., Bruce, S., Gonzalez, J., Bell, B., & Wyrick, D. L. (2019). Bystander intervention training that goes beyond sexual violence prevention. American Journal of Health Studies, 34(2), 80-87.