Police to record crimes motivated by misogyny
Police forces are to be asked to record and identify any crimes of violence, including stalking and sexual offences, where the victim believed it to have been motivated by “hostility based on their sex”, following a government consession that will see misogyny classed as a hate crime.
Baroness Williams of Trafford, the Minister of State for Home Affairs, said the recording would begin to take place on an “experimental basis” from the autumn and it could inform longer-term decisions once the Law Commission’s review of hate crime was complete.
The move came after a call by Labour’s Baroness Kennedy of Cradley, who warned of an “epidemic of violence” against women and girls.
Gathering evidence about the prevalence of hostility towards women and girls was crucial to recognising connections, according to Lady Kennedy.
Speaking as the Lords considered amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill, Lady Kennedy added: “If we are not recording crime targeted at women, how can we effectively address violence against women and girls and the police’s response to it?”
Reacting to the decision, Fawcett Society chief executive Felicia Willow said: “We are delighted that this Government has accepted that misogyny should be treated as a hate crime.
“Fawcett’s campaign showed there was overwhelming public support for this. It’s essential that women have the confidence to report crimes and that they are taken seriously when they do.
“This is a major step forward in changing how we understand, address and prevent violence against women – and one that we hope will help change attitudes towards women.”
Labour MP Stella Creasy, who has been campaigning for change, said recording where crimes are motivated by hatred of women will “help us better understand the scale of the problem” and improve efforts to prevent crimes against them.
Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said: “I am relieved that the Government has recognised the need to act on misogyny and follow the lead already taken on this by some police forces.
“If we are to better protect women and girls in this country, then crimes motivated by hatred towards women and girls must be treated as seriously as racially or religiously motivated hate crimes.
“This is a moment when we are sadly too aware of the dangers. We are all grateful to everyone who has worked to make this possible.”
Domestic Abuse Commissioner Nicole Jacobs added: “I strongly welcome the Government’s plans to ask police forces to collect data on whether violent crimes are committed on the basis of someone’s sex or gender. This is a vital step forward in helping to ensure that we have a more complete picture of the extensive nature of violence against women and girls.
“I look forward to working with the Government and police forces to make the most of this opportunity, and hope to see the pilot result in a requirement for forces to record this information in the long term.”