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Misogyny: a hate crime now

Misogyny to be officially recorded as a hate crime in England and Wales

Anousha Narayanan

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On the 3rd of March, 33-year-old Sarah Everard disappeared while walking home. Ten days later, police officer Wayne Couzens was arrested for her murder. This incident sparked outrage throughout the UK.

For years, activists have campaigned for misogyny to be recorded as a hate crime. Hate crimes are crimes carried out because of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or trans identity. Minister Baroness Williams has announced that by autumn, crimes motivated by hatred of sex or gender will be added to this list. She stated: “I will advise the House that, on an experimental basis, we will ask police forces to record and identify any crimes of violence against the person, including stalking and harassment and sexual offences, where the victim perceives it to have been motivated by a hostility based on their sex, which, as I have said, can then inform longer-term decisions.”

According to UN Women, 97% of UK women have been sexually harassed. Labour MP Stella Creasy has stated that “Recording where crimes are motivated by hatred of women will help us better understand the scale of the problem and so be better able to prevent these crimes – it should give all women confidence that if they come forward to report crimes, they will be taken seriously too.” She said: “It will be taken into account in the sentencing in court in the same way that it is if someone is being targeted because of the colour of their skin.”

However, this may not be as effective as hoped. In 2016, Nottingham police introduced a similar policy. From 2016 - 2018, 174 misogyny hate crimes were reported, out of which 101 were not recorded as criminal offences and only one resulted in a conviction.

This is a step in the right direction, but the fact that it took a murder to get here proves there is clearly a long way to go.

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