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