- Evidence Consultation organised by Greater Manchester Citizens was held today, Wednesday 11 September 2019, as part of a review into hate crime law by the independent Law Commission, which advises Government on areas of the law that need reform.
- The visit took place on Wednesday 11th September at the British Muslim Heritage Centre and the commissioners heard from over 40 members of the community, who spoke directly to the Commission about their experiences of misogyny, Islamophobia and intersectional hate crime.
- Community organising group Greater Manchester Citizens - which includes members from Mosques, Churches and Synagogues, the University of Manchester, Levenshulme School from Girls as well as other civil society groups - has been campaigning for stronger Hate Crime laws for the past two years and successfully bid for the consultation to be held in Manchester.
As part of its review into hate crime law, the Law Commission today visited Manchester for the first time to hear from the experiences of people affected by hate crime from across the North West.
People came together from across diverse institutions, to share their lived experience in contribution to a national policy discussion on how communities can be made safer for people who experience hostility and prejudice because of their identity.
The Law Commission Review into Hate Crime was announced in September 2018 following a long campaign by Greater Manchester Citizens and Citizens UK calling for misogyny to become a Hate Crime. Community leaders from Manchester University were last year featured on BBC Breakfast, Manchester Evening News and national press in a high profile campaign to record misogyny, or harassment and abuse directed at women because of their gender, as a hate crime.
The Review will explore ways of making current hate crime legislation more effective and consider if there should be additional protected characteristics.
The visit to Manchester follows successful action undertaken by GM Citizens to address hate crime in the region helping to appoint a person in charge of social cohesion in the region and bringing communities together in the aftermath of the Arena attack by organisng the largest great get together held in the UK.
Furqan Naeem, Community Organiser of Greater Manchester Citizens said: "We are delighted to host an important Law Commission Evidence Consultation this week. We have been working hard with our GM members to bring communities together by listening carefully to those at the sharp end of everyday hate crime which deepens our appreciation of how it operates. It is crucial that people from diverse communities come together to challenge all forms of hate crime including Islamophobia, misogyny and other hate crimes that intersect with different forms of discrimination".
Rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steen of Jackson's Row Synagogue and the first female Rabbi in Manchester said: 'This gives communities in Manchester a really important opportunity to speak directly to the law commissioners and have the voices of communities put first. We will be presenting powerful testimonies to ensure our streets are safer for women and bring in women from the Muslim, Jewish and LGBTQ+ community to show that women often face mutiple cases of hate cirme'
Sylvie Pope, student at the University of Manchester and leader of the Greater Manchester Citizens misogyny hate crime campaign, said: We look forward to welcoming the Law Commission to Manchester. After years of campaigning, we recognise that this is a rare and exciting opportunity for our community to help improve the laws that keep us safe, by sharing the realities of every day misogyny, Islamophobia and other forms of hate crime.
GM Citizens, part of community organising charity, Citizens UK, has been campaigning for stronger protections against Hate Crime since 2017 and is calling on Greater Manchester Police to act now and join several other forces which have already started recording misogyny as a hate crime.
Notes to editors:
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About Citizens UK
Citizens UK organises communities to act together for power, social justice and the common good. The home of community organising in the UK and the Living Wage Foundation, we have over 450- member organisations in alliances in London, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Leicester, Birmingham, Wales, Leeds, Tyne & Wear and Manchester. We develop the leadership capacity of our members to organise against social injustice affecting their communities.
About Greater Manchester Citizens
GM Citizens is a broad alliance of civil society members including charities, faith groups, schools, Universities and community groups across Greater Manchester. GM Citizens is part of community alliance Citizens UK.