Po­lice urged to crim­i­nalise misog­yny after al­most 60,000 hate crimes against women

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By El­liott Kime

UP TO 57,000 women were sub­jected to hate crime based on their gen­der in 2018, anal­y­sis re­veals, as cam­paign­ers urge po­lice to crim­i­nalise misog­yny.

Anal­y­sis by the Fawcett So­ci­ety un­cov­ered 67,000 in­ci­dents of gen­der­based hate crime last year alone, with 57,000 cases tar­get­ing women.

Now politi­cians from across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum have signed a let­ter ad­dressed to Cres­sida Dick, the Metropoli­tan Po­lice Com­mis­sioner, and Sara Thorn­ton, the head of the Na­tional Po­lice Chiefs’ Coun­cil.

Sig­na­to­ries in­clude Labour’s Stella Creasy, Lib­eral Demo­crat Jo Swin­son, Con­ser­va­tive Peter Bot­tom­ley and Jac­qui Smith, the for­mer Labour home sec­re­tary. Sam Smethers, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Fawcett So­ci­ety, said: “We have to recog­nise how se­ri­ous misog­yny is. It is dis­missed and triv­i­alised. By nam­ing it as a hate crime we will take that vi­tal first step. This data should be a wake-up call to all of us, but it is just the tip of the ice­berg.”

Paddy Tip­ping, the Po­lice and Crime com­mis­sioner for Not­ting­hamshire, also signed the let­ter. Not­ting­hamshire Po­lice has recorded misog­yny as a hate crime since 2016, a move fol­lowed by North York­shire and Avon and Som­er­set con­stab­u­lar­ies in 2017.

Ms Smethers added: “Women are rou­tinely tar­geted with abuse and threats on­line and in our streets. We know that black women, Mus­lim women and Jew­ish women are par­tic­u­larly af­fected. The way we tackle hate crime must re­flect that.”

The Law Com­mis­sion is cur­rently re­view­ing how sex and gen­der char­ac­ter­is­tics are treated within ex­ist­ing hate crime leg­is­la­tion and whether new of­fences are needed.

Hate crimes and in­ci­dents are de­fined as be­ing mo­ti­vated by hos­til­ity or prej­u­dice based on per­sonal char­ac­ter­is­tics, in­clud­ing race or eth­nic­ity, re­li­gion or be­liefs, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, dis­abil­ity and trans­gen­der iden­tity.

The re­view was prompted in Septem­ber after a bill mak­ing “up­skirt­ing” a spe­cific sex­ual of­fence was passed in the House of Com­mons. Ms Creasy, the MP for Waltham­stow, sought to amend the draft leg­is­la­tion so judges could de­cide whether those con­victed of hate crimes against women were “mo­ti­vated” by misog­yny when sen­tenc­ing.

How­ever, Ms Thorn­ton said record­ing misog­yny as a hate crime “can­not be pri­ori­tised when polic­ing is so stretched”.


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