Vera Baird DBE KC

Writer, Lecturer, Parliamentary Consultant and Co-Director of Astraea: Gender Justice

“Loose Women” TV Programme debate – Judy Finnigan

The comments of broadcaster Judy Finnigan in her debut on the TV programme ‘Loose Women’ in relation to a high profile rape case involving a footballer have been criticised by Vera Baird.

The former Richard and Judy star was commenting on the case of footballer Ched Evans who was jailed for five years in 2012 for raping a 19-year-old woman.

The player is preparing to be released from prison and the broadcaster was discussing if he should be allowed to rejoin his club.

Ms Finnigan said he had served his time, the rape was not violent and his victim had had far too much to drink.

The Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, a lifelong campaigner against violence against women and girls, said: “He raped her – that is a serious injury and undermines some people for life.

“Ms Finnigan seems to have already forgotten the testimony of the teenage victims of Rolf Harris and others who have said in detail in their victim impact statements how their lives had been ruined.

“No bodily injury has little relevance, it doesn’t have to do physical damage to be rape and it is the essence of violence to force himself upon her.”

The Commissioner said she had no view about whether they should take Evans back into football, but added: “He has to work somewhere but it probably shouldn’t be in such a public role since it looks like he’s being given a platform for approval.”

She also questioned what being drunk had to do with anything, saying: “What has this got to do with this if he forced himself upon her.

“If you get drunk and someone steals your wallet does this mean it’s any less of a theft than if you were sober.”

Judy Finnigan’s comments on the popular ITV show were publicly condemned by many who took to social media to voice their opinion.