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Free active bystander training

Published Tuesday 20 February, 2024
Last updated on Monday 18 March, 2024

Learn how to intervene and prevent harmful and dangerous situations by signing up for free active bystander training.

Swale Borough Council have teamed up with Folkestone and Hythe District Council to fund ten free online training sessions as part of their Safer Streets projects.

The training will equip people with the skills to recognise and react to dangerous situations, and how to offer support to others who are in difficult circumstances.

Funding for the campaign came from the Government’s Safer Streets Fund, after Swale - through the Community Safety Partnership - worked with the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner to successfully bid for the additional resources.

The money is being invested into measures in Sittingbourne and Sheerness Town Centres that will help tackle the higher level of crime, antisocial behaviour and violence against women and girls.

Being an active bystander means you should take:

  1. Direct action: call out negative behaviour, tell the person to stop and ask the victim if they’re okay
  2. Distract: interrupt, start a conversation with the perpetrator, use an excuse like asking the time
  3. Delegate: if you don’t feel you can get involved, ask someone else to (eg bar staff or door staff).
  4. Delay: if it’s too dangerous, call the police and wait for the situation to pass, then check on the victim.

Cllr Richard Palmer, chair of Swale Borough Council’s community committee, said:

“This training is a great opportunity for people to learn how to identify and best to deal with harmful situations they witness.

“Importantly, this doesn’t mean anyone should be putting themselves in danger, as your safety should always come first.

“But that is why this training is so important, it will teach you when and how to react, to keep yourself and those around you safe.

“Even if you aren’t able or it is not safe to intervene, it will give you the skills to identify the harmful situations and know how to get help.

“Sometimes all it takes is for one person to step up and speak out about the unacceptable behaviour we witness for those around them to do the same.

“If we work together as a community we can reduce antisocial behaviour by showing the people who are creating these harmful situations, that we will not tolerate it in our society.”

Cllr Elliott Jayes, vice chair of Swale Borough Council’s community committee, said:

“While this training is open to anyone in the borough, it is particularly for anyone living or working in the Sheerness and Sittingbourne Town Centres.

“The more who sign up, the more knowledgeable and prepared people there will be who can assist you when dealing with harmful situations you find yourself in or are witnessing.

“We would have loved to provide money to other areas in the borough too, but due to the funding requirements we put forward these two town centres, which led to a successful bid.

“By taking this training you aren’t expected to act in every dangerous situation, but having this knowledge; how to spot and react to it, will help you feel more confident and ultimately safer.”

The sessions have 50 spots and are open to the public on a first come first serve basis and will be delivered by specialists from Cultivating Minds UK.

The first set of events will be on:

Friday 1 March, from 10am - 12pm on Zoom.

Monday 18 March, from 10am - 12pm on Zoom, tickets available.

Wednesday 27th March, from 1pm - 3pm on Zoom, tickets available.

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