Security Seeks To Expand Bystander Intervention Training Program

The Office of Campus Security is bringing two national programs under the umbrella of its Bystander Intervention training to address dating violence and mental health crises starting this semester.

Escalation and the Question, Persuade, Refer program, or QPR, are being taught this year alongside Bringing in the Bystander, which security introduced to campus last semester.

While Bringing in the Bystander revamped Belmont’s sexual violence prevention training, Coordinator of Security Programs Liz Grubb said stopping sexual violence is only one piece in a larger puzzle.

“The issue of sexual violence or current violence prevention in general is very complex and it’s not just one issue,” Grubb said. “I think the root issue is the same. Bad things happen and we need to do the best we can to bring awareness to prevent it.”

The first of the two programs, Escalation, is a workshop centered around recognizing potential signs of violence in intimate relationships. Created by the One Love Foundation, Escalation uses a 90-minute film followed by a discussion group to educate participants.

A group is led by a facilitator who guides and helps participants identify warning signs of abuse in relationships and how it ties back campus life. A facilitator can be a One Love instructor or anyone who has completed the workshop, according to the One Love website.

The foundation itself was set up by the family of Yeardley Reynolds Love, a University of Virginia senior who was beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend in 2010.

Because any participant in Escalation can train others as a facilitator upon completing the course, Escalation will be taught along the same lines as Bringing in the Bystander. The idea behind Bringing in the Bystander is to train students to train other students to step in when they see a crisis unfolding, and the same idea is being applied to Escalation.

Preventing abusive relationships and sexual violence aren’t the only issues covered by the new training this semester.

QPR was already present on Belmont’s Campus, but as with Escalation Campus Security is approaching the program this year under the same principles as Bringing in the Bystander, Chief of Campus Security Pat Cunningham said.

“It’s CPR for mental health,” Cunningham said. “When we’re talking about the general concept of bystander intervention, about being aware and feeling empowered to take action and knowing what to do and to do it, it’s the same sort of thing along mental health issues.”

QPR is a product of the QPR Institute, which was founded in 1999 by clinical psychologist Dr. Paul Quinnett.

The program trains people to become Gatekeepers, which are people trained to recognize signs someone is contemplating suicide. Gatekeepers are taught common causes of suicidal behavior and how to “identify and interrupt the crisis and direct that person to the proper care,” according to the QPR Institute’s website.

The QPR training takes only 60 minutes, and participants receive certificate to train others that is valid for three years. Cunningham will have Campus Security officers lead the QPR training programs for students but said the ultimate goal is to have students educating their peers both in QPR and the Escalation workshops.

“The more we do to continue to find the community who are passionate about it, this thing will really grow,” he said. “I think the more of those people who we can take advantage of who have a personal message, the more I think that helps it connect.”

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