(302) 577-2484 Suicide Hotline or 1-800-652-2929

(302) 831-2141 Center for Counseling & Student Development (PSC)

(302) 831-8939 Dean of Students Office

(302) 831-2414 Faculty and Staff Assistance Program

(302) 831-8063 Office of Equity and Inclusion

(302) 761-9100 CONTACT Delaware


Intervention Techniques Tips

Harassment and discrimination are unlikely to stop unless it is confronted. In some cases, particularly when the behavior is unintended, confrontation may simply involve telling the person directly that his/her actions are offensive, discriminatory, and/or unwelcome. Other situations may require more formal steps. The University of Delaware supports and encourages all members of its community who believe they are being subjected to harassment or discrimination or who have witnessed harassing or discriminatory behavior to take appropriate action.

The following suggestions are some examples of direct actions that you can take, whether a victim or a bystander, to respond to harassment/discrimination. These options do not pertain to emergency situations.

  • Be assertive – if something isn’t right, speak up. The most effective intervention is to use assertive language. Use “I statements” that speak to the action and describe what you’d like to see for the future. For example, “John, I feel really uncomfortable when you mimic Angel’s accent. I find it rude and unwelcoming, so please stop.” 
  • Interrupt the situation – distract or remove the offender/victim immediately. Assertive communication is usually best, but you don’t have to address the offender to intervene.
  • Appeal to the offending person’s higher principles. If you know the person pretty well, you can encourage appropriate behavior by appealing to their better judgment and instincts. For example, “Why would you say something like that? I don’t think of you as a racist, and what you just said is racist.”
  • Use a group intervention. There is strength in numbers, so approach the person as a group of people who share the same beliefs and concerns.
  • Set limits. Express clearly where you draw the line. For example, “You need to stop asking that vendor out on a date, he/she has clearly indicated he/she is not interested. It is sexual harassment and you can be reported.” Or “If you continue to say that women have no business being engineers, we will ask the professor to switch you out of our group.”

Indirect actions may also be appropriate, such as:

  • Talk later to discuss your concerns. This is an appropriate intervention particularly if the offense is a comment, rather than an action. You can speak with the person when you’re alone and tell them how their comment made you feel.
  • Keeping a record. Begin to keep track of dates, times, and places as well as statements and possible witnesses. This information could be used to support a complaint.
  • Talk to others. Incidents are often not isolated, and offenders are likely to exhibit a pattern of such behavior. Discuss the situation with other students or coworkers. Ask them whether they’ve encountered the same issue.          

Links to off-campus organizations/Federal offices

Office of Civil Rights – Department of Education
The OCR office for Delaware is located at:
Philadelphia Office
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
100 Penn Square East, Suite 515
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3323
Telephone: 215-656-8541
FAX: 215-656-8605; TDD: 877-521-2172
Email: OCR_Philadelphia@ed.gov

Anti-Defamation League, http://www.adl.org/
Local organization in PA, serving DE, http://regions.adl.org/eastern-pa/

American Civil Liberties Union, http://www.aclu.org/
ACLU of Delaware, http://www.aclu-de.org/

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, http://www.naacp.org
NAACP Local Chapters in Newark, Wilmington, other areas

Teaching Tolerance, http://www.tolerance.org/

American Civil Rights Institute, http://www.acri.org/

Southern Poverty Law Center, http://www.splcenter.org/

Human Rights Campaign, http://www.hrc.org

Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, www.civilrights.org

National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium, http://www.naplc.org

National Council of La Raza, http://www.nclr.org

National Organization for Women, http://www.now.org

Campus Pride, http://www.campuspride.org/

Office of Equity & Inclusion • 305 Hullihen Hall, Newark DE, 19716
Phone: (302) 831-8735 • Fax: (302) 831-2063
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