The VR Active Bystander Project harnesses the power of virtual reality to create an immersive experience in which young people are placed in the shoes of someone who witnesses sexual harassment. In a familiar scenario, they will be given scope to develop their understanding of themselves as an active bystander, as well as their ability to safely and effectively intervene where necessary and safe to do so.

Many universities run face-to-face Active Bystander training as part of a programme of work aimed at preventing sexual harassment and violence on campus and the VR would seek to compliment and reinforce that learning. The scenarios that we are developing are familiar to, and drawn from young people’s own experiences, such as in pubs, on public transport and on the street.

The immersive experience allows discussions about hypothetical scenarios to take on a whole new dimension, taking participants out of the classroom and placing them directly into a safe and controlled experience where they are confronted with a harasser and victim and then given a series of choices to make in the moment.

The VR Active Bystander Project is funded by Nesta Amplified – a pilot programme supporting cultural and creative organisations seeking to develop digital ideas that generate social impact. The VR Active Bystander Project is one of thirteen projects funded as part of the Amplified – check out all the other amazing projects in our Amplified cohort.