Newham Council is to campaign to have misogyny, the hatred of women and girls, added to the list of hate crimes currently recognised in law.
At a meeting of the Full Council last night (Monday 16 November), members voted unanimously to support a motion by Councillor Mumtaz Khan, resolving to ask the Law Commission, which is currently reviewing hate crime, to add misogyny to its definitions under the law.
Newham Council believes this would give protection to the 85% of women aged 18-24 who have reported being subjected to sexual harassment in public and the many more who suffer in silence.
Councillor Khan said; “Misogyny is not currently recorded as a hate crime by the vast majority of police forces in the UK, adding it to the current list would mean police would have to log and monitor incidents of hostility towards women and girls, as they do with other forms of hatred. It would not turn anything into a crime that isn't already an offence but would help track, detect and prevent these crimes and improve the protection of women and girls from abuse.”
“By making this small change we can ensure the courts can take this kind of behaviour into account when sentencing. It would also help to change not only the prosecution and detection of such crimes, but the culture of acceptance of this abuse too.”
The Council members heard that the adoption of misogyny as a hate crime has been successfully piloted in Nottingham, where analysis shows an increase in reporting and overwhelming public popular support.
Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz, seconding the motion said; “The object of this change is to let men know that misogyny will not be tolerated, and that in today’s society and in this age, their actions will be challenged. Woman and girls should not have to accept this behaviour and should not have to change the way they live their lives to avoid harassment or discrimination; or be fearful of violence.
“This campaign underlines the Council’s on-going determination to stamp out all kinds of hatred and inequality. Already our “Towards a Better Newham” action plan, means that we will be working with residents to challenge exploitation and abuse, including violence against women and girls. In London, we know that domestic abuse is at epidemic levels and that forms of abuse have widen, that’s why we need to treat violence against women with the seriousness needed, particularly as we look ahead to International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women next week.”