England’s hate crime law may be expanded to include misogyny

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Hey, mate, here’s a jolly good reason not to be a wanker to women: it could get you nicked! 

Or, in terms we Americans can better understand: England’s misogynists and sexists could be arrested for crimes against women, if more British cities adopt Nottingham’s bold experiment.

The police force in that British city found that by labeling misogyny as a hate crime, more than 20 investigations were launched in the space of two months. That’s one crime every three days, ranging from street harassment to unwanted physical approaches.

Incidents reported to Nottingham police ranged from verbal harassment to sexual assault. So far, two men have been arrested, in cases involving public disorder and actual bodily harm, each classified as misogynist.

Now Nottingham’s crackdown against sexist abuse has cities across England, Wales and the national government considering similar measures, the Guardian reported.

In the U.K., where the latest statistics are from 2014, a total of 52,853 hate crimes were investigated. These cases broke down into these categories: racism, xenophobia, bias against Christians and other religions, including antisemitism, bias against LGBTQ people, and bias against the disabled and other groups.

In July, Nottingham expaned its enforcement of hate crimes, defining misogyny as “incidents against women that are motivated by an attitude of a man towards a woman and includes behaviour targeted towards a woman by men simply because they are a woman.” This enabled women to report incidents that might not previously be considered a crime, and have the police investigate under its new mandate.

“The number of reports we are receiving is comparable with other, more established, categories of hate crime,” said Dave Alton, the hate crime manager for Nottingham police. “We have received numerous reports and have been able to provide a service to women in Nottinghamshire who perhaps wouldn’t have approached us six months ago. The reality is that all of the reports so far have required some form of police action.”

“We know it’s a big issue that happens on a daily basis – it’s part of the everyday wallpaper of women’s lives,” said Melanie Jeffs, the manager of Nottingham Women’s Centre. “This is about raising awareness, making women feel that they don’t have to put up with it – and that’s very empowering. Already women are ringing through to the police saying: ‘I want this to be recorded as a misogynistic hate crime.'”

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