Nottingham

Nottingham misogyny hate crime woman 'abused online'

Melanie Jeffs Image copyright Ursula Kelly
Image caption Nottingham Women's Centre manager Melanie Jeffs said she had threatening messages as well as lots of comments about her appearance

A woman who helped launch a police campaign to record misogyny as a hate crime has received hundreds of abusive messages.

Melanie Jeffs said one person "threatened to put a machete" through the back of her head.

Nottinghamshire Police has received 22 reports and made two arrests since recording misogynistic hate crimes.

They included verbal abuse, threats of violence, assault and unwanted physical contact.

Ms Jeffs, centre manager at Nottingham Women's Centre, said she was "stunned" by the volume of tweets and messages posted on Twitter and Facebook.

Harassment

She said: "They ranged from the ridiculous to some that were quite aggressive.

"One person said I should get cancer, I had somebody threatening to find me and tie me up and lots of comments about my appearance.

"There is one that I'm having discussions with the police about, but most of them I just brushed off."

She said "people think it's completely acceptable to target women in this way".

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Nottinghamshire Police was the first force to make misogynistic abuse a hate crime

In a statement, Nottinghamshire Police said: "We have been speaking to a victim of online misogynistic abuse who has received offensive and threatening messages.

"We have offered our support and advice and the victim has stated that they do not want to make any official reports at this time.

"We will be speaking to one of the perpetrators to reiterate the seriousness of their actions."

Ms Jeffs led the research into hate crime in the city which resulted in Nottinghamshire Police becoming the first force in the country to expand its hate crime categories to include misogynistic incidents. It came into force in May.

It means abuse or harassment which might not be a crime can be reported and investigated by police, and support for the victim put in place.

Incidents range from unwanted sexual advances through to physical approaches.

The force defines misogyny hate crime as "incidents against women that are motivated by an attitude of a man towards a woman and includes behaviour targeted towards a woman by men simply because they are a woman.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Nottinghamshire Police said it took "any reports of hate crimes, including online abuse, very seriously"
Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Melanie Jeffs said she received hundreds of abusive online messages after the campaign which made the harassment of women a hate crime was launched

What is hate crime?

A crime that the victim or any other person perceives to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards any aspect of a person's identity.

Police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland annually monitor five strands of hate crime:

  • Disability
  • Gender identity
  • Race, ethnicity or nationality
  • Religion, faith or belief
  • Sexual orientation

Forces can include their own definition of a hate crime with several recently adding sub-sections.


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