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Northumbria Police attacked for 'sexist' domestic violence campaign ahead of new 'coercive control' law

Fathers’ rights group says the adverts were biased and out of date for suggesting only women were the victims of domestic violence

Caroline Mortimer
Thursday 31 December 2015 19:17 GMT
One of the posters released by Northumbria Police to promote the new coercive control law
One of the posters released by Northumbria Police to promote the new coercive control law (Northumbria Police)

A “mens' rights” group have threatened to stage “guerilla-style” demonstrations against a domestic violence campaign they claim is sexist.

Northumbria Police’s new campaign urging women to report warning signs of domestic abuse ahead of a new law which will make “emotional and financial” abuse a criminal offence has been deemed sexist by New Fathers 4 Justice, a fathers’ rights campaign group which calls itself New Fathers 4 Justice but has no connection to the long established group, Fathers for Justice Limited.

The group has said the advert - which says certain behaviours like threatening to hurt children if a partner leaves or being nice to them so long as they do as they are told are abusive - suggests that domestic violence perpetrators are exclusively male.

Phrases used include “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” have been branded as biased and offensive by the group with campaigns for fathers' rights.

A spokesman for the group told the Newcastle Chronicle: “Northumbria Police are disgracefully using out of date gender stereotypes and are living in the dark ages turning a blind eye to modern day life.

(Northumbria Police)

“Violence is violence, no matter who it’s aimed at and assaults by wives and girlfriends are often ignored by police and media.”

A spokesman for Northumbria police said they had initially focused on women as the vast majority of cases reported to police were against them but had taken on board the complaints made.

He 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.”

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