Misogyny Could Become a Hate Crime in England and Wales

Reformers are pushing for revised legislation that recognizes misogyny as a serious crime

A woman with a sign at the Bread and Roses Women's March on January 19, 2019 in London, England
The Bread and Roses Women's March on January 19, 2019 in London, England.
Vickie Flores/In Pictures via Getty Images Images

The Law Commission, an independent body that recommends legal changes in the U.K., is pushing for revised legislation that would make misogyny a hate crime in England and Wales.

In a consultation launched Wednesday, the organization issued a proposal to make sex or gender a protected class in hate crime laws, with an emphasis on protecting women, The Guardian reported. Currently, protected characteristics in hate crime legislation include race, religion, trans identity, sexual orientation and disability.

According to the commission, a review of current hate crime laws revealed that the majority of sex-based crimes were against women, but the group said it plans to consult further before deciding whether the proposed sex protection should apply to men in addition to women.

“Hate crime has no place in our society and we have seen the terrible impact that it can have on victims,” said Professor Penney Lewis, the criminal law commissioner. “Our proposals will ensure all protected characteristics are treated in the same way, and that women enjoy hate crime protection for the first time.”

The Law Commission’s proposal is part of a larger movement pushing for misogyny to be considered a hate crime, including initiatives calling for street harassment of women to treated as a serious criminal offense.

“Misogyny drives crimes against women,” said Labor MP Stella Creasy. “Recognizing that within our criminal justice system will help us detect and prevent offenses including sexual assault, rape and domestic abuse.”

The Law Commission’s consultation will be open until December 24. Final recommendations to the government will be issued next year.

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