Monday, July 26, 2021
HomeEvening Standard Comment: making misogyny a hate crime a welcome step

Evening Standard Comment: making misogyny a hate crime a welcome step

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The term “hate crime” is used to describe a range of criminal behaviour in which the perpetrator is driven by hostility towards the victim’s disability, sexual orientation, transgender identity, race or religion. It is hard to see why a person’s gender should not be on there as well.

Categorising misogyny as a hate crime would bring practical and societal benefits. It would mean police must monitor and log instances of misogynistic crimes and enable judges to hand down tough sentences.

It should also help drive a cultural shift to encourage women to report such crimes. As we report today, new figures show 618,000 women suffered a rape, sexual assault or attempted sex attack last year but just one in six reported it.

Compulsory sex education in England will also provide vital early opportunities to teach respect and to underline that sexual harassment is never something to be tolerated as part of growing up or being a woman.

We know women face a unique threat from men. Figures from the Femicide Census 2009-2018 found that, on average, a woman is killed by a man every three days. Categorising misogyny as a hate crime will also provide judges with greater sentencing powers.

This would send the strong message that our criminal justice system, indeed our society as a whole, takes crimes against women seriously.

Great credit should go to the charities and individuals who have campaigned tirelessly on this issue, not least Stella Creasy MP, who tabled amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill and who told the Standard this week that classifying misogyny as a hate crime could have a transformative effect on society.

Protecting and empowering women requires more than plain-clothes police offers in nightclubs. It calls for a cultural change in how society, and the laws to which it consents, treats women and girls. This is a step in the right direction.

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