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Journal of Interpersonal Violence






Failure to take responsibility for intervening has been identified as a primary barrier to bystander intervention. Building on these findings, we examine how perceptions of responsibility affect responses to witnessing victimization in the online realm—a topic that has received limited attention. Using a maximum-likelihood selection model, we analyze data from the Pew American Trends Panel (N = 3709) to estimate the effects of respondents’ perceptions of the role different groups should play in addressing online harassment on their likelihood to engage in intervention, target hardening, or inaction in response to witnessing online harassment, conditioned upon their likelihood of having witnessed such behavior. Findings indicate that the greater role respondents believe online users should have in addressing online harassment, the more likely they are to intervene. (b = .310). The greater role respondents believe law enforcement or elected officials should have in addressing online harassment, the less likely they are to intervene (b = −.135 and −.072, respectively). These findings have implications for future efforts to curb online harassment through users’ crime prevention efforts.


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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Sage in Journal of Interpersonal Violence on December 1, 2021, available online:

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