Have there been any studies or exist any statistics on how often people fail to somehow intervene in the event of an emergency where violence is involved? I'm primarily interested in North America (and exclusively interested in developed nations). For example how often does it happen that an assault takes place where even though there are witnesses, not one phones for police (as in the case with Kitty Genovese)?

This question pertains to the bystander effect. Basically I'm asking what is the prevalence of it, in the sense is it more likely than not for someone to somehow assist when clearly someone needs help?

In a psychology class I took we were taught this is the reason for the bystander effect:

steps required to intervene

I personally don't find this a convincing argument, as it seems all they did was break things down into small steps. For example step #3 is almost negligible because simply calling 911 isn't assuming too much responsibility. And for #4 you just need to know the number 911.

closed as off-topic by Oddthinking May 4 '15 at 7:23

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  • I think that would be criminal in France: there's a "duty to rescue" law that at least requires you to call emergency services. – ChrisW May 3 '15 at 20:54
  • 3
    Incidentally: The Kitty Genovese case is most likely not an instance of this; later analysis found that there were likely fewer than 38 witnesses (and certainly fewer eyewitnesses) to the first attack, almost none of them could see the second attack, someone did intervene in the first attack by shouting at the attacker, and the police were notified before the second attack. Source – cpast May 3 '15 at 21:22
  • What's the claim here? The linked Bystander Effect Wikipedia page gives experimental estimates of its effect in a given (staged) emergency, and some of the variables that effect it. Do you doubt those claims? – Oddthinking May 4 '15 at 3:47
  • What's the source of the image? – Oddthinking May 4 '15 at 3:48
  • @Oddthinking a course I was in at a university – Celeritas May 4 '15 at 6:41

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