York & North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire police to treat misogyny as hate crime

Model receiving unwanted attention on the street Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The new policy will be introduced in May

Unwanted sexual advances and verbal abuse against women will be recorded as a hate crime by North Yorkshire Police.

The misogyny crackdown was announced on International Women's Day by Deputy Chief Constable Lisa Winward.

In a blog post, she said it was not right some women felt "intimidated and fearful of just stepping out of their door. "

The Fawcett Society, which campaigns for gender equality and women's rights, said it was "delighted" by the news.

Last year, Nottinghamshire Police became the first force in the UK to record misogynistic incidents.

'Locker room banter'

Supt Mark Khan, North Yorkshire's lead officer for hate crime, said the initiative was in response to concerns raised by women on a youth commission panel.

"Some of the young women said they felt vulnerable in public areas and subjected to harassment," he said.

"We hope the outcome is that women feel we are taking these crimes seriously and lead more women to come forward."

He denied the force was trying to outlaw harmless banter and was being "politically correct".

'Tidal wave of abuse'

"If you say it is... 'locker room banter'...I think you are trivialising it. If you think it's that, then you don't understand what misogyny is," Supt Khan added.

Police forces in England and Wales are required to record incidents where a crime against a person is motivated by hostility or prejudice towards the victim's race or nationality, disability, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Forces can add their own definition of a hate crime with several recently adding sub-cultures, such as goths.

"We need to call out misogyny for what it is - a hate crime," Sam Smethers from the Fawcett Society said.

"Women and girls face a tidal wave of abuse and harassment every day. Our law has to send a clear signal [it] is not acceptable."

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