Campaign: Make Misogyny A Hate Crime
What is the issue?
Violence against women and girls does not occur in a vacuum; hostility towards women and girls generates a culture in which violence and abuse is tolerated, excused and repeated. Changing that means challenging not only individual acts of abuse but the very roots of the culture which enables it. Gathering the evidence about the extent, nature and prevalence of hostility towards women and girls and how these interplay with the experience of domestic abuse is crucial to recognising these connections.
Classing misogyny as a category of hate crime would not make anything illegal if it’s not already. Instead, it would help to bring together the understanding of the forms of violence and abuse women and girls experience by ensuring all were recorded. It would mean police forces can better support victims, and make them aware of where incidents are reoccurring. Women and girls need to feel their concerns are being taken seriously by the police and that misogyny is not normalised.
In 2016 Nottinghamshire Police became the first police force in the country to enable women and girls to report cases of abuse and harassment as misogyny, this includes stalking, groping, indecent assault and kidnapping. Four other police forces have since followed suit.
What more can be done?
The campaign to make misogyny a hate crime returns to the House of Lords next week as parliamentarians seek to ensure all police forces record the violence and harassment women face. Amendment 87B to the Domestic Abuse Bill, which has cross-party support and backing from a wide range of campaigning organisations, will be debated on Monday 15th March 2021. It would require all police forces in England and Wales to record where existing crimes have been motivated by hatred of someone’s sex or gender.
Please write to your MP and ask them to support making misogyny a hate crime by encouraging Peers to support amendment 87B to the Domestic Abuse Bill.
The Domestic Abuse Bill states that the Secretary of State must give guidance on the kinds of behaviour that amount to domestic abuse. The proposed amendment 87B, states that the guidance should further take account of evidence about the relationship between domestic abuse and offences involving hostility based on sex. The wording is as follows:
Page 54, line 8, at end insert—
“(2A) The Secretary of State must issue guidance under this section which takes account of evidence about the relationship between domestic abuse and offences involving hostility based on sex or gender.
(2B) In preparing guidance under subsection (2A) the Secretary of State must require the chief officer of police of any police force to provide information relating to—
(a) the number of relevant crimes reported to the police force; and
(b) the number of relevant crimes reported to the police force which, in the opinion of the chief officer of police, have also involved domestic abuse.
(2C) In this section—
“chief officer of police” and “police force” have the same meaning as in section 64 of this Act;
“relevant crime” means a reported crime in which—
(a) the victim or any other person perceived the alleged offender, at the time of, or in a recent period before or after, the offence, to demonstrate hostility or prejudice based on sex or gender, or
(b) the victim or any other person perceived the crime to be motivated (wholly or partly) by hostility or prejudice towards persons who are of a particular sex or gender
The amendment has been tabled by Labour’s Lady Kennedy, and has been co-signed by Conservative Peer Baroness Altman, Cross-Bench Peer Lord Russell, and Conservative Peer Lord Young. The campaign itself has been backed by a wide range of political leaders across the country including Mayors Andy Burnham, Steve Rotherham, Sadiq Khan and Dan Jarvis, Police and Crime Commissioners David Keane (Cheshire), Paddy Tipping (Nottinghamshire), Sue Mount Stevens (Avon and Somerset), Alison Hernandez (Devon and Cornwall), Julia Mulligan( North Yorkshire), and multiple councils across the country passing motions in support.
Stella Creasy MP who has been coordinating the campaign said:
“I urge every woman who has walked with keys in her hands at night, been abused or attacked online or offline to come forward and be heard. This is our moment for change - rather than telling women not to worry about violence or to stay home at night if they want to be safe, its time to send a message that women should be equally able to live free from fear of assault or harm from those who target them simply for who they are."
The Jo Cox Foundation has worked closely with many civil society organisations, charities and MPs on the campaign to make misogyny a hate crime.
- In July 2020, we encouraged our followers to write to their MPs to support the campaign.
- In October 2020, 17-year-old Matthew undertook a week-long work experience placement with The Jo Cox Foundation and wrote a blog on the campaign.
- In December 2020, we submitted evidence to the Law Commission's Consultation on Hate Crime Laws, recommending that misogyny be made a hate crime.