A female judge who told women they were at greater risk of being raped if they got drunk has been accused of victim-blaming by a police commissioner.
During her sentencing of a rapist in Manchester, Lindsey Kushner said there was “absolutely no excuse” for sex attacks, but that men gravitated towards vulnerable women.
In her final case before retiring, the judge said women were entitled to “drink themselves into the ground”, but their disinhibited behaviour could put them in danger and they were less likely to be believed than a sober victim.
The Northumbria police and crime commissioner, Dame Vera Baird, said the comments were “victim-blaming” and would stop victims coming forward.
The former solicitor-general told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “When somebody is raped they feel guilt and shame and they find it very hard to report it.
“If a judge has just said to them ‘well, if you drank you are more likely to get raped, we are not likely to believe you and you have been disinhibited so you’ve rather brought it on yourself’ then that guilt is just going to get worse.”
The former Labour MP said the judge should have given advice to help women stay safe instead of implying “it’s your fault for having attracted him in the first place”.
“She does say ‘yes, you can drink yourself daft and you can use your body how you want, but if you do you are more likely to get raped’. Now, I’m sorry, but that is putting responsibility on it.”