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Merseyside Police accused of ‘victim blaming’ on social media

9:50 pm, 19th August 2018

They have removed the posts from their Twitter accounts and issued a statement apologising for how the campaign was perceived.

The posts laid out a fictional scenario where a woman was apparently targeted after leaving a bar on a night out.

The tweets stated that “she told her mates she’d had enough” and that “her mates should have gone outside with her”, before adding “know when to step in”.

A personal safety video attached to the tweets was also accused of blaming victims.

Citysafe, Liverpool’s Community Safety Partnership, said in a statement: “The video ‘Know to when to step in’ is part of a wider campaign which aims to encourage friends to look after each other on a night out to prevent someone becoming vulnerable or separated from the group.

“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 for making the decision to rape is the perpetrator.

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

It went on to explain that a partnership group which includes people from sexual violence support services, the council, police and local charities was consulted during the video’s development.

The statement adds that the storyline of the video was also tested on “several” focus groups, and adds: “No one consulted felt 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.”