Avon and Somerset Police apologises after handing out 'R U Asking For It?' leaflet

The leaflet was marketed as 'your essential guide to student safety'

Caitlin Doherty
Tuesday 12 July 2016 18:54
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Avon and Somerset police are facing criticism after distributing a safety leaflet entitled "R U Asking For It".

The leaflet was marketed as "your essential guide to student safety" and included information on muggings and personal robbery, as well as rape and sexual assault.

The brochures were originally distributed at an "Only Yes Means Yes" event at a post-16 education centre in Bristol earlier this week and were met with disgust from students who accused the force of victim blaming.

A 17-year-old boy who was at the event spoke to the Bristol Post about the atmosphere at the talk: “Victim blaming arose rather quickly from the police, telling girls that they shouldn’t drink on nights out and suggesting that it was more the victim’s job to prevent the attack from happening”.

Avon and Somerset Police has since apologised. “The out-of-date leaflets contained information about vehicle crime and robberies in relation to student safety and have now been destroyed," a statement on their website says. "We would like to reiterate our apology and will be re-delivering the workshop.”

Chief Inspector Marie Wright, force lead for rape and sexual assault, congratulated the students for raising the issue. “The students were right to challenge the incorrect message. We’re sorry this has happened," she said. "I will personally ensure a correct session is delivered to the students involved and have already arranged for the leaflets, which are nearly ten years out of date, to be destroyed.”

Wright also emphasised a new campaign established by the force, a poster campaign showing a man and woman kissing and stating "this is not an excuse" for rape.

Marian Curran, director of the educational centre where the event took place, said: “We are proud of our young people for challenging the conflicting messages and the literature from the Avon and Somerset Police. It felt very important to give the students time to ask challenging questions of the speakers in order to share a positive dialogue around the issue…We welcome the offer made by the police of further collaborative work and look forward to working with them and our young people to ensure that this type of situation does not occur again.”.

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