Misogyny to be recorded by West Yorkshire officers to tackle gendered hostility

West Yorkshire Police is joining a number of other forces across the country in recording instances of misogyny to help tackle ‘gendered hostility’.

Dec 1, 2021
By Paul Jacques

Officers will now ask female victims if they believe offences were motivated by their sex.

Instances of misandry – ‘the hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against men and boys’ – will also be recorded in recognition of the 750,000 men who were victims of domestic abuse in the past year.

West Yorkshire Police said it was now training officers and call centre staff to ensure they understand how to identify incidents of misogyny and misandry.

There is currently no offence of misogyny or misandry in existing hate crime legislation, which covers race, religion, sexual orientation, disability and transgender status, but this is being reviewed by the Law Commission.

West Yorkshire Police said from today (December 1), once victims have been questioned by officers in relation to all of the protected characteristics covered by hate crime legislation, they will now also be asked if they feel they were targeted because of their sex.

If the victim confirms this is the case, it will be recorded.

T/Assistant Chief Constable Damien Miller said: “No one should ever be victimised because of their gender, and now we have started to record misogyny and misandry incidents and at the point of contact with the victim we will be asking them whether they feel what happened to them was motivated by hostility of their gender.

“We feel this is positive step in the right direction in identifying and investigating these types of incidents and ensuring that victims voices are heard, and their cases are investigated with the full picture to hand.

“We are training our staff in the customer contact centre and officers to ensure they understand how to identify and accurately flag incidents of misogyny and misandry and we hope this will bring reassurance to those who report crimes of this nature that West Yorkshire Police does not stand for this type of behaviour.”

The Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, said the recording of misogyny was an “important milestone” for the safety of women and girls.

“It may not currently be a crime and I know this is being reviewed by the Law Commission, but this is a significant step forward,” she said.

“No one should be victimised for who they are and those who seek to discriminate in this way, should realise that they are potentially committing a hate crime.

“Over the years, misogynistic comments in particular, have been normalised in society, often providing a platform for more serious offences.

“I also welcome the recording of misandry alongside misogyny, recognising that 750,000 men were subject to domestic abuse in the last year.”

Ms Brabin added: “This erosion of people’s safety cannot be allowed to continue, and we must confront it in all its forms.

“I am really glad that our conversations with the chief constable of West Yorkshire Police have now led to this new approach.”

West Yorkshire’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Alison Lowe, said they were “determined to get misogyny recognised and recorded as a hate crime” and have made representations nationally to the Government.

“More needs to be done and is being done, as this encouraging development shows,” she said.

“This was and is a crucial step in the right direction in making those principles a reality for everyone living and working in West Yorkshire.”

Loretta Trickett, Associate Professor at Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University, has long argued that public abuse of women and girls should be tackled through misogyny lens (see https://www.policeprofessional.com/feature/gendered-hostility-why-greater-recognition-is-needed/)

In March, there was an announcement in the House of Lords that all police forces from the autumn would be required to record examples of crimes motivated by gender hostility in response to pressure from women’s groups campaigning to improve the safety of women and girls.

Nottinghamshire Police was one of the pioneers in tackling this form of offence with the introduction of its misogyny hate crime policy five years ago.

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