Misogyny could be classed as hate crime under new proposals

Misogyny could become a criminal offense under reformed laws against hate crimes, according to the agency responsible for reviewing the legislation.

The Law Commission is investigating whether those who physically or verbally abuse women because of their gender face tougher penalties.

The groups and traits currently protected by law in England and Wales are race, religion, sexual orientation, disability and transgender identity.

But the Commission is currently examining how such proposals to include women in anti-hate crime laws might work in practice.

It has requested evidence from victims of hate crimes, police officers, prosecutors and civil rights groups in order to assess the scope of future legislation.

Areas to consider include the extent of online abuse and threats of violence against women in public, as well as the impact on their participation in debates and public life.

It examines whether modifying crimes in which the majority of victims are women, such as rape, sexual assault and female genital mutilation, is helpful given their already gender-specific nature.

A preliminary paper also raises the fact that domestic violence and coercive control by men against women can have a complex set of motivations that go beyond misogyny.

It is part of a wider patchwork consultation of existing hate crime laws that have been criticized for their complexity and different levels of protection for various characteristics.

Violations such as bodily harm, criminal harm and harassment result in longer sentences if the perpetrator is seen as motivated by prejudice or hatred of a particular group.

There are separate laws to incite racial hatred if the behavior is found to be “threatening, abusive, or offensive”.

Similar behavior towards a certain religion or sexual orientation can only be pursued, however, if the behavior is threatening and not just abusive or offensive.

Criminal Justice Commissioner Professor Penney Lewis said: “Hate crimes have no place in our society and we have seen the dire effects they can have on victims. Our proposals will ensure that all protected traits are treated equally and that women enjoy protection from hate crimes for the first time. “

In addition to misogyny, the consultation examines whether protection should be offered to other groups and characteristics, for example homeless people, sex workers and members of alternative subcultures such as goths or punks.

The Legal Commission continues to consider whether age should be taken into account, highlighting the physical vulnerability of older people and the fact that scammers often target them.

It also examines whether certain non-religious philosophical beliefs deserve protection, such as humanism.

The Law Commission’s call for evidence is open September 23 through December 24.


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