A police force has been accused of victim-blaming after suggesting women should not walk alone at night because they are at risk of “physical assault”.
Nottinghamshire Police’s statement on Facebook said females could be harassed or even attacked if they decided to walk the streets by themselves.
The force made the controversial comments following reports a woman was being followed by a man on Nottingham Road, in Nuthall, Notts., on Friday night (22/11).
The post, which has now been deleted, 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.”
It was displayed on the Broxtowe North Police Facebook page, which covers Eastwood, Kimberley, Nuthall and other surrounding areas of North Nottinghamshire.
Helen Voce, chief executive of Nottingham Women’s Centre, said she could not believe the comments had been made by a police force.
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.
“I think it makes women feel like it’s their fault and that’s ridiculous.”
Ms Voce said advice should be focused on how men can make women feel safer at night, rather than warning women over walking alone at night.
She added: “It’s men that need to change their behaviour.”
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 web user said: “May I politely remind you it is 2019 and we no longer blame women for whatever crime has been committed against them?”
Another resident replied: “All people should be safe to walk the streets that they live any time of the day or night. Do not blame the victim here.”
One woman added: “I think the staff member who wrote this statement could do with some retraining.”
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, the feedback has been provided and we would apologise unreservedly for any offence caused.”