Preventing Interpersonal Violence at UNC Chapel Hill: The Effect of One Act Training on Bystander Intervention

Most of our readers might know about One Act. One Act is a training program that was first implemented in 2010 to prevent interpersonal violence (IPV) by teaching students skills to intervene as bystanders in high-risk situations.


For example, you are at a house party and see that one of your friends is being pulled towards the second floor by someone you have never seen before. Your friend looks uncomfortable. What do you do? One Act training gives you the skills to intervene safely and effectively in situations like this one.

The first time I participated in this training I remember thinking to myself, “why didn’t we have this when I was in college!?” It could have prevented many unhappy events.

As it turns out, we did not have it at UCLA when I was an undergraduate student because IPV prevention programs are relatively new (and I am relatively old). UNC Chapel Hill’s effort in preventing IPV is rather cutting edge, and it is quickly becoming a hot topic among U.S. colleges.

The 2013 Campus SaVE Act, passed within the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act (a federal law that expands legal tools and grant programs addressing domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking), requires campuses to implement bystander education for new students starting next academic year… and guess who is already doing that? You guessed correct, we are!

The SaVE Act is a great step towards ensuring that we all look out for each other, know how to identify the signs of risk, and overcome barriers to action. One problem, however, is that the SaVE Act does not specify effective program components or metrics for the successful implementation of bystander education programs. That is where UNC-CH comes in.

UNC-CH has joined the small group of universities that have bystander education programs such as the Green Dot program founded at the University of Kentucky and Bringing in the Bystander at the University of New Hampshire. We are also one of the very few that have actually evaluated the program with a large sample size and rigorous methodology. Our evaluation findings suggest that One Act training has significantly improved participants’ attitudes, self-efficacy, and willingness to help others.

We recently presented these results at the American Public Health Association Conference in Boston. Additionally, the evaluation’s manuscript will soon be submitted for publication.

We hope that our efforts at UNC-CH will help other universities implement bystander education programs. On our part, we will continue to improve the measurement scales and current program to better serve the UNC-CH community.

Join us! For more information about how to sign up for trainings, how to get involved, and resources, visit us at

To hear what other students have learned in One Act trainings, watch this video!

3 thoughts on “Preventing Interpersonal Violence at UNC Chapel Hill: The Effect of One Act Training on Bystander Intervention

  1. Andrea Stewart November 18, 2013 / 11:06 am

    I have been One Act trained, and I highly recommend it! It can really help make you aware of campus issues and help others be safe.


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