- Northumbria Police referred to attackers as ‘he’ in social media campaign
- Campaigners criticised the force, claiming they were living in the dark ages
- People accused the poster campaign of being ‘sexist’ and ‘discriminating’
- Force said majority of domestic abuse cases reported involved women
A police force is today at the centre of a sexism row after referring to attackers as ‘he’ in an anti-domestic violence campaign.
Protesters threatened to take part in ‘guerrilla-style’ demonstrations against Northumbria Police after the notices were shared on Twitter.
New Fathers 4 Justice – a fathers’ rights group in the UK – accused officers of living in the ‘dark ages’ and have made an official complaint to the force over the move.
Slogans designed to highlight new legislation on coercive and controlling behaviour read ‘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’.
A spokesman for New Fathers 4 Justice, who are currently camped outside of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Oxfordshire constituency home in protest an inequality in father’s rights, said: ‘Northumbria Police are disgracefully using out of date gender stereotypes and are living in the dark ages turning a blind eye to modern day life.
‘New Fathers 4 Justice want nothing less than a legal presumption of equal contact for a child with their parents if they split up, and the abolition of the deeply controversial, undemocratic secret court system that still exists within the “family” division despite forty years of inequality and protest.
People also took to social media to hit out at Northumbria Police, who created the posters in partnership with Police Crime Commissioner Vera Baird.
They called for the post to be taken down from the force’s social media pages and accused them of being ‘sexist’ and ‘discriminating’.
One Facebook user Andrew John Wills wrote: ‘All six posters published by Northumbria Police imply it’s a male perpetrator and the victims are either women or children.’
Adam Armstrong wrote: ‘More gender-discriminatory sexism.’
‘Sexist’: Protesters threatened to take part in ‘guerrilla-style’ demonstrations against Northumbria Police after the notices (pictured) were shared on Twitter
A Northumbria police spokesman said they would consider the feedback they had received from the campaign.
He said: ‘Coercive control is a recently recognised form of domestic abuse and is used by perpetrators to control every part of someone’s life, it can be financial control, constant criticism, isolation from family and friends.
‘The offence isn’t limited to just one gender or sexual orientation, anyone can be a victim of coercive control.
‘Our initial focus, so far, has mainly been on women as the victims of this offence- as in the vast majority of cases where domestic abuse is reported to the police – the victims are women.
‘That said, 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.’