Campaign group New Fathers 4 Justice threaten ‘guerilla-style protests’ in response to Northumbria police posters which referred to abusers as ‘he’
Northumbria Police has been accused of sexism in a poster campaign designed to highlight domestic abuse.
The force was criticised by social media users after images referred to abusers as ‘he’ in posts designed to highlight new legislation on coercive and controlling behaviour.
Campaigners said the messages ‘he has never hit his partner, but he has punched walls’ and ‘he says he will never hurt her, as long as she does what he wants’ are biased and offensive.
The group New Fathers 4 Justice said: “Northumbria Police are disgracefully using out of date gender stereotypes and are living in the dark ages turning a blind eye to modern day life.
“Violence is violence, no matter who it’s aimed at and assaults by wives and girlfriends are often ignored by police and media.”
The force which created the posters in partnership between with Police Crime Commissioner Vera Baird, faced a backlash on its Facebook page after posts referred to a man abusing a woman.
Mark Kenyon wrote: “Disappointingly this advert implies that the perpetrators are all men, and that this is only capable of being a female targeting crime,” while Chris Frost said: “These posters are a joke . . . always ‘he’ never ‘her’. Men suffer abuse from women too.”
A spokesperson for Northumbria Police said it had received a number of complaints and the force will consider the responses ‘going forwards’.
They said the initial focus was on women as in the vast majority of cases reported to the police, women are the victims.
The spokesperson said: “The offence isn’t limited to just one gender or sexual orientation, anyone can be a victim of coercive control.
“We do acknowledge there are male victims out there and would encourage anyone who suffers domestic violence to contact police and seek help and support.”
New Fathers 4 Justice – which is not affiliated to Fathers 4 Justice – have made a complaint to Northumbria Police and have threatened ‘guerrilla-style protests’ at police stations and locations where the posters are displayed.
The group which campaigns for separated parents to have equal contact with children have targeted the police poster which reads, ‘He says he’d never hurt the children, unless she tries to leave.”
New Fathers 4 Justice said: “Isn’t coercive control a mother denying a father access to his children? Or do Northumbria Police think only men use children to manipulate women? Tell that to all the dads who couldn’t see their kids this Christmas.”
Members of the campaign group are currently camped outside of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Oxfordshire constituency home in protest an inequality in father’s rights.