The guides below offer some simple but effective steps to help bystanders, managers and people in leadership roles to deal with reports of bullying, harassment, and discrimination. Developed using behavioural science, they can support those faced with difficult situations to act humanely and prevent them from freezing’ out of fear of doing the wrong thing: 

  • Listen: Gives tips based on Active Listening to help someone feel heard, able to share, and not judged.
  • Acknowledge: How to be an active bystander and show you understand the potential impact of the situation. 
  • Act: Take appropriate steps either in your capacity as a manager, or by passing it on if you’re a bystander.


If someone opens up about a difficult situation, especially if it’s the first time they’ve done so, your response can really matter. If you’re unsure how to provide meaningful support, Active Listening – which just means genuinely paying attention and engaging with the person sharing their experience – could make a significant difference.

Behaviour connected with bullying, harassment and discrimination thrives when it remains unnoticed in the workplace. Targets often feel lonely, but Active Listening can help them feel acknowledged, validated, and less isolated. By offering empathy and support to those going through such experiences, we not only benefit the targeted individual but also contribute to creating a healthier work environment for everyone involved. 


Witnessing bullying can be distressing and compromising. We might like to think that we would know how to intervene, but witnesses of bullying situations (known as bystanders) often don’t feel able to respond.

Active bystanders have a key role in creating an anti-bullying workplace culture by preventing, discouraging, and/​or intervening when negative and unprofessional behaviour occurs. The target may want to avoid causing conflict within their team, or they might fear repercussions, but drawing attention to negative behaviour can actually improve the workplace for everyone. The BFI’s guidance on addressing bullying stresses that doing nothing makes you complicit’ and urges witnesses to report it. You can read the full guide here.


To help you decide how to assess the appropriate course of action, we have produced the following three tiers” of risk, to serve as guidelines to help you figure out the best course of action.

Support available for you

Bullying, harassment, and discrimination in the workplace can have a significant and negative impact on workplace wellbeing. For targets of these behaviours, they can cause feelings of distress, isolation, and humiliation and high levels of anxiety and stress. Observing other people being bullied can also have a huge impact. Your work may have a Mental Health First Aider, a Wellbeing Facilitator or Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) which could provide emotional support.

You can also access advice from the Film and TV Charity’s Bullying Advice Service and anyone working behind the scenes can access in-the-moment support and request a referral for six sessions of counselling via our Film and TV Support Line. All our services are free, totally confidential and completely impartial.

  • A camera operator is standing in a dimly lit studio space. There is a light shining from behind them which is silhouetting them.

    Bullying Advice Service 

    Our Bullying Advice Service can support you if you’ve experienced or witnessed bullying, harassment, or discrimination at work.

  • Support Line 

    Our Support Line is free and confidential for anyone working in a behind-the-scenes role in film, TV, and cinema.