It is time to recognise misogyny as a hate crime, according to the Women’s Equality Party (WE).
To mark National Hate Crime Awareness Week (8-14 October) WE has stressed that the definition of hate crime should also include crimes against women.
“At the moment, criminal offences are categorised as a hate crime if they are motivated by hostility or prejudice based on disability, race, religion, transgender identity or sexual orientation. Yet crimes are committed against women – because they are women – every day,” said Women’s Equality Party leader Sophie Walker.
“It is time the law was changed to protect women and allow for better tracking and more effective investigations of these crimes, and the provision of more reliable support for victims.”
Walker highlighted Nottinghamshire Police, which extended hate crime legislation to cover misogyny last year. She said that WE’s Nottingham branch is working with Nottingham Women’s Centre to draw attention to street harassment and abuse in the area.
According to Walker 30 misogynistic hate crimes have been recorded in the area by police, ranging from public order offences to physical assault, indecent assault and even kidnapping.
Devon and Cornwall, Durham and Lincolnshire police forces are now working with the Nottinghamshire force enforce the change.
“Changing the law to make misogyny a hate crime nationwide is an important first step in tackling the too-common attitude that it’s ok to catcall or grope a woman,” said Walker.
“It will also give women more confidence to know that what is happening to them is a crime, and that they will be taken seriously by the police and given the necessary support.”
“It is time the Government took on the endemic problem of harassment, assault and abuse against women and applied this change in the law nationwide,” Walker added.
“Up to 85 percent of young women have experienced unwanted sexual attention – 45 percent have experienced unwanted sexual touching. We are letting women and girls down. It’s time to act.”