Susan Williams, a Conservative in the House of Lords and a junior minister in the Home Office, told Parliament on Wednesday that the government would experimentally “ask police forces to identify and record crimes of violence against the person,” including harassment and harassment, as well as sexual offenses in which the victim perceives that he has been motivated by hostility based on his sex. ”
The measure will not require a change in the law, as it is already possible to classify these crimes as hate crimes. Williams said the reason the move is experimental is because the UK Legal Commission had said the designation would not guarantee greater effectiveness in bringing justice to offenders.
Numerous prominent campaign groups in the UK have long been pushing for misogyny to be designated as a hate crime. However, the murder of Sarah Everard has forced a national conversation about the violence, harassment and intimidation that women face.
The move to register misogyny as a hate crime was well received by advocates. Citizens UK, an organization that brings together communities in the UK to campaign for social change across society, tweeted: “Amazing news! … Recording is such a vital step: it goes beyond surveillance. With data, society and the state can now take advantage of it and take on the # misogyny endemic to our culture. ” But others were concerned that the measure did not necessarily lead to the reporting of more crimes against women.
“We urgently need better data on the prevalence and scale of sexual harassment that women face on a daily basis. A new way of recording crimes alone will not succeed if it is not accompanied by funding for the training of police and transport workers “. says Caroline Criado Perez, author of Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men.
“One of the drivers of the data gap on sexual harassment is that women don’t report, and they don’t report because they don’t know who to report or what to report.”
UN Women UK last week released a report saying that more than 95% of women did not report their experiences of sexual harassment, and that 98% of women aged 18 to 34 did not report incidents of sexual harassment.
There is no set date for the entry into force of the new measures, but Williams told parliament that the government “will soon begin consultation with the National Police Chiefs Council and will do so with a view to start experimental data collection this fall “.
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