Connect with us

Featured

Police apologise over ‘victim blaming’ safety flyers linking rape to drinking alcohol | UK News

Published

on

Police have apologised after leaflets linking rape to drinking alcohol were distributed in Belfast, with one critic describing their message as a “horrible example of victim blaming”.

The flyers, which a senior officer has said were discontinued several years ago, label alcohol as “the number one date rape drug” and advise people to be wary of potential sexual assaults when drinking.

Detective Chief Superintendent Paula Hilman, head of Police Service Northern Ireland’s (PSNI) public protection team, has said an investigation is under way into how the leaflets ended up in public circulation.

The leaflets were discontinued years ago, police said. Pic: @SazaHaller
Image:
The leaflets were discontinued years ago, police said. Pic: @SazaHaller

One woman, Sara Haller, said she came across them at an event in North Belfast on Thursday and sent an email to police to complain about the language used.

In the message, which she also posted on Twitter, she said: “This leaflet is a horrible example of victim blaming from those who are meant to protect the victim.

“The tone, language and arguments add up to ultimately saying if you’re intoxicated, you’re allowed to be raped.”

DCS Hilman has said police “will learn lessons” from the leaflets, which she said were outdated and were not part of a current sexual consent awareness campaign called No Grey Zone.

More from Northern Ireland

No Grey Zone was launched in partnership with a range of partners, including university students’ unions.

DCS Hilman said the leaflets “do not reflect, in any way, how PSNI views or treats victims of sexual crime and we apologise, unreservedly, for what has happened”.

“First of all, I want all victims to know that the only people who are responsible for rape are rapists,” she added.

“Victims are not to blame.”

Remaining flyers are to be destroyed to avoid future incident, she added.

Young adults are giving up alcohol in record numbers
Image:
The leaflets warned of drinking too much alcohol

Back in 2018, Merseyside Police and Liverpool City Council were also forced to apologise over a series of tweets that were accused of blaming victims for sexual assault.

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”.

Advertisement Find your dream job

Trending