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Would I Be Hurt?: Cross-National CCTV Footage Shows Low Victimization Risk for Bystander Interveners in Public Conflicts

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>11/01/2020
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Accumulating evidence shows that bystanders witnessing public disputes frequently intervene to help. However, little is known regarding the risks entailed for those bystanders who enter the fray to stop conflicts. This study systematically examined the prevalence of bystander victimizations and associated risk factors. Data were a cross-national sample of CCTV video recordings of real-life public disputes, capturing the potential victimizations of intervening bystanders. Data showed that interveners were rarely physically harmed, at a rate of approximately one in twenty-five. Confirmatory regression results indicated, although not robustly, that conflict party affiliation and male gender were possible risk factors of bystander victimization. The severity of the conflict at the time of intervention was not found to increase the risk of victimization. Our findings highlight the ecological value of naturalistic observation for bystander research, and emphasize the need for evidence-based bystander intervention recommendations.