Nottinghamshire Police 'victim blame' women in Facebook post

Excerpt of police Facebook message Image copyright Facebook
Image caption The post was deleted following the criticism

A police force was accused of "victim blaming" when a social media post suggested women who walk alone at night are at risk of attack.

Nottinghamshire Police's Facebook post said walking alone at night was a risk women should not be taking after reports a woman was followed by a man.

Nottingham Women's Centre said it was "sexist" and "condescending".

A police spokesman described the post as clumsy and said it had been swiftly deleted.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption The wording of the post was given short shrift on Facebook

The post had said: "Taking a risk when it comes to walking alone at night is not one of those things we should be doing.

"Women who walk alone especially at night are at risk of harassment, or even physical assault."

The message was also criticised over its mention of a "late-night store run".

Helen Voce, chief executive of Nottingham Women's Centre, said she could not believe it had come from the police.

She said: "It felt like a 1980s thing; it is so condescending, blaming women for going out and it's so sexist about us coming back from the shops.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption One Facebook user got out the red marker pen to edit the police's Facebook post

"I think it makes women feel like it's their fault and that's ridiculous."

Ms Voce said good advice should be directed towards men on how to make women feel safer at night.

"It's men that need to change their behaviour," she said.

One woman, who replied to the post, said: "When I read this, all I feel is fear and am reminded again, that as a woman I'm not supposed to be in public spaces."

Another woman said: "May I politely remind you it is 2019 and we no longer blame women for whatever crime has been committed against them?"

A Nottinghamshire Police spokesperson said: "We recognise this was a clumsy attempt to communicate an incident with the underlying intention of keeping people safe.

"The post was swiftly deleted as soon as it was brought to our attention, feedback has been provided and we would apologise unreservedly for any offence caused."

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