In a landmark decision following the murder of Sarah Everard, who is believed to have been killed by a London Metropolitan police officer, British police forces will record any crimes committed that are believed to have been done so on the basis of sex or gender.
The House of Lords added an amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill which adds misogyny as a hate crime, following a debate on Wednesday.
Under the definition used by the Crown Prosecution Service, a hate crime describes “a range of criminal behaviour where the perpetrator is motivated by hostility or demonstrates hostility towards the victim's disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity.”
The move to criminalize misogyny was pushed by campaigners from several activist groups including Plan UK and the Fawcett Society as well as members of Parliament like Stella Creasy, who has long backed the introduction of misogyny as a hate crime, arguing that it would provide police with better data on attacks against women. Its introduction will allow lawmakers to provide tougher sentences for perpetrators of gender-related crimes.
Although the legislation will be adopted nationwide, some regions in England have already started doing this, including police in Nottinghamshire, which created a pilot scheme in 2016. According to Elle magazine, police recorded 243 misogyny hate crime claims from women.
In addition, the law commission is reviewing all hate crimes and considering the option of including misogyny within existing charges in some of the cases. The commission is expected to deliver its verdict later this year.
The inclusion of misogyny as a hate crime will start in the fall “on an experimental basis, we will ask police forces to identify and record any crimes of violence against the person, including stalking and harassment, as well as sexual offences where the victim perceives it to have been motivated by a hostility based on their sex.”