9 March 2023

Blackpool Council launches Green Dot bystander programme

Blackpool Council has today launched a bystander intervention programme, making it the first local authority in the UK working towards a Green Dot community.

Two women and a man stood in front of a banner
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Green Dot is a prevention programme focusing on sexual assault, domestic abuse and harassment and is designed to make Blackpool a safer place for everyone.

The initiative forms part of the #ItStopsHere campaign, which is an ongoing national movement to help create a safer environment for women.

Using a community responsibility approach, the violence prevention strategy depends on the power of bystanders or witnesses to prevent violence and shift social and cultural norms.

An active bystander is someone who intervenes in a potentially dangerous situation, especially when it comes to violence. They may not be directly involved, but they do have the choice and opportunity to speak up and take action.

The interactive programme uses the analogy of a green dot to illustrate any choice, behaviour, attitude, or statement that promote safety and can prevent violence.

Red dots occur when an act of violence or harassment occurs. Before these events, there are often many warning signs.

The training provides people with the knowledge, skills and confidence to help and prevent an event also known as green dots. A green dot is pulling a friend out of a high-risk situation, for example.

A green dot is simply an individual choice at any given moment to make the world safer.

The skills learned can be used in any situation where there is a risk of escalation or harm.

The importance of safe intervention, including both direct intervention to disrupt behaviour or indirect intervention to seek help from a friend or professional, underpins the programme.

In Blackpool, 20 individuals from various organisations including Blackpool Council, the police, and Fylde Coast Women's Aid (FCWA) have already received the bespoke training with plans to roll this out this out to any members of the community.

The ambition is to deliver the training in schools and colleges as well as to door staff, bar staff and taxi drivers around the town.

Created by Alteristic, a US non-profit consultancy, the programme launched in 2006 at the University of Kentucky. The training programme explores the barriers that individuals feel may prevent them from intervening.

Cllr Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council and/or Cllr Jo Farrell, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, and Community Health and Wellbeing said: 

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“We are working towards creating a Blackpool that is intolerant of abuse and an environment that is safe for all. Blackpool can and will be a safe place for women, children and families, residents and visitors alike. “Green Dot will have a lifelong impact to sustain behaviour change, helping to reduce rates of violence and mobilise and empower members of our community. “With more green dots than red dots, Blackpool will be a safer more inclusive environment for everybody.”
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Cllr Jo Farrell, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, and Community Health and Wellbeing said: 

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“We want the programme to be as far reaching as possible with a shared ambition across the town to make real change for Blackpool which is why we’re urging people to register for training. “The training will help people to understand the importance of intervening to help prevent violence and will explore the barriers they might face in intervening in incidents. “Using a community responsibility approach, we will be better equipped to not only handle, but also effectively intervene and prevent red dots from happening.”
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To find out more about the training programme, email