UK's first Active Bystander conference takes place in Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire charity, the Hollie Gazzard Trust, hosted the UK's first Active Bystander conference in Gloucestershire this July 2024, bringing everyone from forensic psychologists to business leaders to the county.

By Chloe Gorman  |  Published
Forensic psychologists, education professionals and business leaders came together at Hartpury University this July 2024, as the Hollie Gazzard Trust hosted the first Active Bystander conference in the country.

SoGlos's Charity of the Year, the Hollie Gazzard Trust, hosted the UK's first ever Active Bystander conference in Gloucestershire this July 2024.

The event took place at Hartpury University and brought experts from all over the country together with business leaders and public servants, including representatives from the Gloucestershire OPCC, to share how Active Bystander training has been transformative for communities across the UK. 

There was a strong focus on Active Bystander in academic institutions, with Dr Rachel Fenton from the University of Exeter, Dr Gill Harrop from the University of Worcester, Nathan Einstadt from the University of Bristol and Dawn Burke, headteacher of Newent Community School and Sixth Form Centre, sharing their successes and learnings of undertaking Active Bystander training in schools, colleges and universities.

In Newent, pupils as young as Year 7 take part in age-appropriate training to tackle problematic beliefs and attitudes early on — and the results have been staggering, with the vast majority of pupils across all year groups saying they felt more able to intervene safely following the training, creating a kinder and more inclusive culture at the school. 

The conference also highlighted the transformative effect Active Bystander training can have on businesses and business communities, with Paul Street — special projects officer at Colmore BID and leader of the Safe and Sound Working Group — sharing how the initiative is working in Birmingham. 

With 75 per cent of domestic abuse victims being targeted by their abuser at their workplace; 33 per cent of domestic abuse-related homicides occuring at victims' workplaces; and many women within the Colmore business community saying that they feared unwanted sexual behaviours from male coworkers and don't feel safe walking through public spaces in the dark, Active Bystander training has been empowering their male colleagues, from new starters right up to CEOs, to understand, identify and intervene in situations where women and girls are made to feel unsafe. 

Colmore BID has also introduced community support teams, comprised of trained security professionals in uniform, to provide assistance from offering to escort people to somewhere they feel safe, to intervening in situations of concern. 

The event was concluded by The Right Reverend Bishop Rachel Treweek, who noted that the conference took place on the same day as the Euros semi-finals, with domestic violence incidents increasing by as much as 38 per cent when England games take place — but ended with a message of hope that through initiatives like Active Bystander, we can all be the change we want to see. 

For more information about Active Bystander training from the Hollie Gazzard Trust, visit or email 

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