Additional Resources:

Program Profile: Green Dot Intervention Program

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on March 13, 2017

Program Summary

This program is designed to increase self-reported, active-bystander behaviors and reduce dating and sexual violence on college campuses. College students are trained to assess situations, identify potential risks for violence, and safely intervene. The program is rated Promising. The findings showed that students receiving components of the Green Dot program had significantly more observed and self-reported active-bystander behaviors than students who received no intervention.

Program Description

Program Goals
The goal of the Green Dot program, which was developed by the Violence Intervention and Prevention (VIP) Center at the University of Kentucky, is to increase active-bystander behaviors of college students to reduce dating and sexual violence on college campuses. Green Dot helps college students understand how perpetrators target victims; how to assess a high-risk situation; consider appropriate options; and how to select safe active-bystander behaviors, which they would be willing to carry out, to prevent sexual violence on campus. Examples include 1) asking someone who looks very upset if they’re okay and need help; 2) making sure someone who had too much to drink gets home safely; and 3) getting help for a friend who was forced to have sex or was hurt by a partner. The program also encourages students to support and motivate their peers to become active bystanders with them, thus improving the chances that new social norms will spread across campus.
Program Components
The Green Dot program is implemented in two phases. Phase One consists of a 50-minute motivational speech to college students, school leaders, faculty, and administrators to introduce the concept of active-bystander behaviors and build a university-wide commitment to sexual-violence prevention. The speech fosters awareness of dating and sexual violence, and its prevalence on college campuses; presents the bystander intervention model; motivates students to get involved in prevention behaviors; and connects students to resources offered by the VIP Center. Speeches are given during 1 credit-hour, introductory-level courses, which are specifically designed to help first-year students transition to university life.
Phase Two of the Green Dot program includes bystander intervention training. The intervention program, Students Educating and Empowering to Develop Safety (SEEDS), focuses on preventing assaultive behavior by providing students with skills to be proactive bystanders. Students attend small-group sessions where they are taught to recognize and implement active-bystander behaviors. Trainings take place in campus meeting rooms and are facilitated by VIP Center staff. Attendance for such trainings is voluntary and open to all students. Students are recruited after the speech during Phase One. In addition, targeted recruitment strategies (such as nominations by faculty and staff) are used to identify Peer Opinion Leaders (POLs), from many different subgroups on campus to reach a variety of students. The POL strategy is a method for selecting peer leaders who have influence in a particular community. The Green Dot program uses the POL framework to optimize diffusion of new behaviors by using socially influential students who are likely to influence others to also engage in proactive-bystander behavior.
Program Theory
Bystander theory suggests several factors that inhibit bystanders from intervening in high-risk, crisis situations. The first is diffusion of responsibility, the notion that people are less likely to react in a crisis situation when more individuals are present because each assumes that someone else will intervene. The second is evaluation apprehension, in which people are reluctant to respond because they are afraid they will look irrational. The third is pluralistic ignorance, the likelihood that when faced with a crisis situation, people will defer to the cues given by those around them when deciding whether to intervene. The fourth is confidence in skills, in which people are more likely to get involved when they feel confident in their ability to do so successfully. The final factor is modeling; people are more likely to intervene in a high-risk situation when they have seen someone else model active-bystander behaviors first (Latane and Darley, 1970; Rushton and Campbell 1977; Goldman and Harlow 1993; Chekroun and Brauer 2002).
The Green Dot program targets the first and fifth factors (diffusion of responsibility and modeling) through its use of influential peer leaders on campus to assist with the diffusion of active-bystander behaviors. This program also targets the second and fourth factors (evaluation apprehension and confidence in skills) by training students via the SEEDS program to appraise situations, identify potential risk for violence, and select a safe active-bystander behavior that they are willing to carry out. Green Dot targets the third factor (pluralistic ignorance) by creating a new norm within a college community, one that is sensitive to sexual violence and has developed a competency in overcoming barriers to intervention. 

Evaluation Outcomes

top border
Study 1
Observed Active-Bystander Behavior
Coker and colleagues (2011) found that students in all three treatment groups who participated in a component of the Green Dot program (i.e., received the bystander training; were engaged by the Violence Intervention and Prevention (VIP) Center, but received no training; or only heard a Green Dot speech) self-reported significantly higher observed active-bystander behaviors, compared with those students who received no intervention. 
Actual Active-Bystander Behavior
Students in all three treatment groups who participated in the Green Dot program (i.e., received the bystander training; were engaged by the VIP Center, but received no training; or only heard a Green Dot speech) self-reported significantly higher actual active-bystander behaviors, compared with those students who received no intervention.
bottom border

Evaluation Methodology

top border
Study 1
Coker and colleagues (2011) used a randomized experimental research design to evaluate the impact of the Green Dot program. The implementation of Green Dot was assessed to determine whether students who participated in the program had increased observed and/or actual active-bystander behaviors, compared with those who did not participate in the program. The program was implemented by the Violence Intervention and Prevention (VIP) Center at the University of Kentucky. 
A random sample of 2,000 University of Kentucky (UK) undergraduate students from each class (freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors) was selected from the university’s registrar list for spring 2010. Half of this sample was male and all students were between the ages of 18 to 26. The random sample was stratified using student classification (freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors) and gender (male and female). A total of 7,945 UK undergraduate students with UK email addresses were selected to complete an online survey. 
Of the 7,945 invited to participate, 3,417 students completed the survey; however, only 2,504 students were included in the analysis because those with missing data were excluded. There were no differences between the demographic profile of UK students included in the random sample and the whole UK undergraduate population, except that 100 percent of students in the sample were permanent Kentucky residents and 80 percent of UK’s student body were permanent residents. When comparing those included in the invited sample with those who completed the online survey, those completing the survey were significantly more likely to be female, freshmen, in a fraternity or sorority, and in a dating relationship. However, there were no statistically significant differences between those who completed the online survey and those included in the analysis. The final analytic sample was 60.5 percent female and 85.7 percent white, and 29.0 percent were freshmen. 
The impact of the Green Dot program was evaluated using three treatment groups: “bystander trained” group (351 students); “VIP engaged” group, (159 students who were VIP Center clients/volunteers without bystander training); and “Green Dot speech alone” group (693 students). There were no significant differences among the three treatment groups. The comparison group (no intervention) consisted of 1,301 students who had not received bystander training, were not clients/volunteers of the VIP center, and had not heard a Green Dot speech.
Actual active-bystander behaviors, such as talked to a friend who was raped or hit by a partner, or made sure someone who had too much to drink got home safely, were measured using the modified Bystander Behaviors Scale (Banyard, Plante, and Moynihan 2005). Observed bystander behaviors were measured using the same list of behaviors, with instructions to respond on the frequency with which the student had seen or heard someone else do the active bystander behavior. The same timeframe was used to ask about actual and observed active-bystander behaviors (Fall 2009 to Spring 2010). The data were analyzed using a multiple analysis of variance (MANOVA).
bottom border


top border
There is no cost information available for this program.
bottom border

Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

top border
These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Coker, Ann L., Patricia G. Cook-Craig, Corrine M. Williams, Bonnie S. Fisher, Emily R. Clear, Lisandra S. Garcia, and Lea M. Hegge. 2011. “Evaluation of Green Dot: An Active Bystander Intervention to Reduce Sexual Violence on College Campuses.” Violence Against Women 17(6):777–96.
bottom border

Additional References

top border
These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Banyard, Victoria L., Elizabeth G. Plante, and Mary M. Moynihan. 2005. Rape Prevention Through Bystander Education (Final report to NIJ for grant 2002-WG-BX-0009). Durham: University of New Hampshire.

Coker, Ann L., Bonnie S. Fisher, Heather M. Bush, Suzanne C. Swan, Corrine M. Williams, Emily R. Clear, and Sarah DeGue. 2015. “Evaluation of the Green Dot Bystander Intervention to Reduce Interpersonal Violence Among College Students Across Three Campuses.” Violence Against Women 21(12):1507–27.

Coker, Ann L., Heather M. Bush, Bonnie S. Fisher, Suzanne C. Swan, Corrine M. Williams, Emily R. Clear, and Sarah DeGue. 2016. “Multi-College Bystander Intervention Evaluation for Violence Prevention.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine 50(3):295–302.

Cook-Craig, Patricia G., Ann L. Coker, Emily R. Clear, Lisandra S. Garcia, Heather M. Bush, Candace J. Brancato, Corrine M. Williams, and Bonnie S. Fisher. 2014. “Challenge and Opportunity in Evaluating a Diffusion-Based Active Bystanding Prevention Program: Green Dot in High Schools.” Violence Against Women 20(1):1179–1202.

Cook-Craig, Patricia G., Phyllis H. Millspaugh, Eileen A. Recktenwald, Natalie C. Kelly, Lea M. Hegge, Ann L. Coker, and Tisha S. Pletcher. 2014. “From Empower to Green Dot: Successful Strategies and Lessons Learned in Developing Comprehensive Sexual Violence Primary Prevention Programming.” Violence Against Women 20(1):1162–78.

bottom border

Related Practices

top border
Following are practices that are related to this program:

Bystander Education Programs for Sexual Assault Prevention on High School and College Campuses
This practice comprises programs designed to decrease the prevalence of sexual assault among adolescents and college students by educating would-be bystanders (i.e., witnesses) about sexual assault, and promoting the willingness to intervene in risky situations. The practice is rated Effective for reducing rape myth acceptance, increasing bystander efficacy, and increasing intent to help. It is rated Promising for increasing bystander helping behavior and decreasing rape supportive attitudes.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Effective - More than one Meta-Analysis Attitudes & Beliefs - Bystander Efficacy
Effective - More than one Meta-Analysis Attitudes & Beliefs - Intent to Help
Effective - One Meta-Analysis Attitudes & Beliefs - Rape Myth Acceptance
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Victimization - Actual Helping Behavior
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Attitudes & Beliefs - Rape Supportive Attitudes
bottom border

Program Snapshot

Age: 18 - 26

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: White, Other

Geography: Suburban

Setting (Delivery): Campus

Program Type: Classroom Curricula, Community Awareness/Mobilization, Victim Programs, Violence Prevention

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: Model Programs Guide

Program Developer:
Dorothy J. Edwards
Phone: 571.319.0354

Ann Coker
Phone: 859.323.6758