Police and council sorry for 'victim-blaming' tweet

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Image source, TWITTER
Image caption,
The tweet has since been deleted

Merseyside Police and Liverpool City Council have apologised after tweeting that people should "step in" to prevent women becoming vulnerable to sex assaults on a night out.

Social media users criticised the post, shared on Friday, for "victim-blaming".

Jo Wood, from Merseyside Rape and Sexual Abuse centre (RASA), said the tweet should have put the "focus of blame on the rapist".

Both the police force and council have apologised and deleted the posts.

The tweets had included a video, which was part of a campaign, encouraging "friends to look after each other on a night out to prevent someone becoming vulnerable or separated from the group", a spokesperson for Citysafe - Liverpool's community safety partnership - said.

The organisation's statement, shared by the police and council, said: "It was not our intention to blame anyone who has been subject to sexual assault, rape or any other crime."

The "only person ever responsible" is the rapist, the statement continued.

"We apologise for not making that clear in our posts on social media."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

The statement said the video had been based on assaults that had been reported by survivors, where "predatory men have targeted women they perceive to be vulnerable in some way".

Ms Wood said RASA worked with the campaign, thinking it was a training exercise for door and bar staff.

However, she said the organisation did not support the message that "if your friends did not stop you going outside, then it's their fault you got raped and if you went outside after you had been drinking, it was your fault that you got raped."

"What the problem here is that it's not actually putting the focus of blame for what actually happens on the rapist themselves," she said.

A Citysafe spokesperson said sexual violence support services and students had been consulted.

"No one consulted felt that the campaign blamed victims, but when viewed in isolation the tweet has been perceived in that way and we are sorry for any distress caused."

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