Joint call for police forces to record misogyny links to hate crime

Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis has called for police forces to record when a crime is linked to misogyny as new legislation on domestic abuse reaches its final stage in parliament.

Mr Jarvis joined with other Labour metro mayors to make the call, as the national policing adviser for hate crime said there was not a woman in public life who did not face abuse online.

An amendment put forward to the government’s Domestic Abuse Bill, which is being debated for the final time today, aims to oblige police forces to record the link, with the hope it will give clearer data on the extent of misogyny and how it is linked to abuse and violence.

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It follows evidence from five police forces which do make the link which showed it improved outcomes in addressing the abuse and harassment of women and girls.

MP Stella Creasy, who has proposed the amendment, and Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis. Photos: PA/JPI MediaMP Stella Creasy, who has proposed the amendment, and Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis. Photos: PA/JPI Media
MP Stella Creasy, who has proposed the amendment, and Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis. Photos: PA/JPI Media

Mr Jarvis said: “I'm supporting this work to get all police forces to record data on when crimes are motivated by misogyny so that we can track and trace the source of the violence and harassment women and girls face.

“With these crimes increasing during lockdown it’s even more important we have this information to help better prevent such crimes and ensure the safety of women not just in Yorkshire but across the country.”

The campaign is backed by major organisations working on hate crime, women’s rights and community safety including the Jo Cox Foundation.

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And it comes as the Law Commission will shortly begin consulting on how to incorporate misogyny into hate crime legislation.

The amendment is being proposed by Labour MP Stella Creasy, who said: “It is incredibly powerful to see the metro mayors come forward collectively for the first time and join the call for misogyny to be made a hate crime at a time when we know violence against women is on the rise.

“The Law Commission tell us they are about to begin consulting on this and that needs the police to record the data to work - with these five leaders standing together with campaigners and MPs to call for change, women and girls know who is taking their safety seriously.”

Community organising group Citizens UK is also backing the call. Charlotte Fischer, from the organisation, said: “Recording misogynistic hate crime allows us to identify patterns and perpetrators; it supports women to be able to name the experiences they have, and to know they will be believed when they do so.

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“By recognising how misogyny intersects with anti-black racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia and other forms of discrimination we also can also map and understand how other forms of abuse affect women in specific and intersectional ways.”

Paul Giannasi, the national policing adviser for hate crime, added: “Ideological misogyny, which is emerging in far right terrorist violence, and misogynistic online abuse is more widespread now and hugely damaging to society. I do not believe there is a woman in public life who is not subject to misogynistic abuse online.

“At its worst it can lead to violence and/or significant psychological harm but even where it does not have such an effect, it can deny, particularly women, the freedom to actively participate in public discourse.”

The wide-ranging Domestic Abuse Bill has been described as game changing by the government and aims to transform the response to domestic abuse.

The government previously announced its own amendment that would ban the so-called rough sex defence in court proceedings for causing serious harm or death as part of the bill.

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