Let­ter urges po­lice to make misog­yny a hate crime

The Herald - - NEWS - TOM HOR­TON

MISOG­YNY should be made a hate crime, a group of MPS and cam­paign­ers have said.

East Dun­bar­ton­shire MP Jo Swin­son, along with Stella Creasy, Peter Bot­tom­ley and for­mer home sec­re­tary Jac­qui Smith, is among those to have signed a let­ter, sent by gen­der equal­ity char­ity the Fawcett So­ci­ety, urg­ing po­lice to help them crim­i­nalise it.

Women’s rights cam­paigner He­len Pankhurst also signed the let­ter, which has been sent to Metropoli­tan Po­lice com­mis­sioner Cres­sida Dick and Chief Con­sta­ble Sara Thorn­ton, the Na­tional Po­lice Chiefs Coun­cil chair.

Sam Smethers, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Fawcett So­ci­ety, said: “We have to recog­nise how se­ri­ous misog­yny is. It is at the root of vi­o­lence against women and girls.

“Yet it is so com­mon that we don’t see it. In­stead it is dis­missed and triv­i­alised.

“By nam­ing it as a hate crime we will take that vi­tal first step.”

Anal­y­sis of crime fig­ures by the Fawcett So­ci­ety es­ti­mated there were around 67,000 in­ci­dents of hate crime based on gen­der last year, with 57,000 of those be­ing tar­geted at women, the char­ity said. Ms Smethers added: “This data should be a wake-up call to all of us, but it is just the tip of the ice­berg.

“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.”

In a state­ment re­spond­ing to the let­ter, Chief Con­sta­ble Thorn­ton said record­ing misog­yny as a hate crime “can­not be pri­ori­tised when polic­ing is so stretched”.

She added: “The core polic­ing that the pub­lic tell us they care about most is se­ri­ously stretched. We do not have the re­sources to do ev­ery­thing that is de­sir­able and de­serv­ing.

“There are well rea­soned ar­gu­ments for record­ing misog­yny as a hate in­ci­dent, even when no crime has been com­mit­ted, but it can­not be pri­ori­tised when polic­ing is so stretched.

“Pro­tect­ing women and girls from vi­o­lence, harass­ment and sex­ual or do­mes­tic abuse con­tinue to be pri­or­i­ties for the po­lice.”

Po­lice in Not­ting­hamshire, North York­shire, Avon and Som­er­set have al­ready adopted misog­yny as a form of hate crime for record­ing pur­poses.

„ Sam Smethers of the Fawcett So­ci­ety, which is be­hind the let­ter.

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