Hate crime is on the rise across the board - whether motivated by hate towards other races, religions, genders, sexualities or abilities. Every single incident of hate, leaves affected communities feeling more isolated and victimised.
That’s why members of Citizens UK alliances up and down the country have been taking action: from Citizens:mk (Milton Keynes) and Tyne and Wear Citizens who are working with local transport companies to tackle hate crime, to London Citizens who have been offering ‘bystander training’ to students and staff in schools and Nottingham Citizens who got their local police force to become the first in the UK to treat misogyny as a hate crime.
Our organising efforts on the ground are having a real impact: girls and women in Nottingham can now walk taller, knowing that they can go to the police and have their experiences of being groped, stalked or threatened on the street finally be taken seriously. In turn, Nottinghamshire Police is better able to identify locations where misogynistic hate crime is more common and take preventative measures. Young people on London school playgrounds and university campuses now know how to act if they witness hate crime. Muslim women in Newcastle now feel more confident taking the metro or bus, knowing that drivers have been trained on how to respond appropriately to cases of hate crime.
Watch our video on making misogyny a hate crime:
Hundreds of us called on our MPs to support an amendment put forward by Stella Creasy MP and make misogyny a hate crime by law. As a result, the Government announced a Law Commission Review of all current hate crime legislation and consider whether any additional characteristics, such as misogyny, should be granted legal protection. The Commission is an independent body that will report back to Parliament in 2020.
This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for people and groups affected by hate crime - whether on the grounds of race, religion, gender identity, sexuality, disability, etc. - to secure stronger protections in a time when hate crime is shamefully on the rise.
We’re conducting an in-depth listening campaign to engage our faith, cultural and educational institutions across the country and find out: what are people’s experiences of hate crime? How can we make it easier for those affected to report hate crime and have it taken seriously? How can we increase trust between affected communities and the police?
We will be inputting our findings to the Law Commission - in writing and in person during face-to-face meetings between Citizens UK leaders and the Commissioners. We will call on the Commission to recognise misogyny as a hate crime and strengthen protections for all other forms of hate too.
Next, we will engage MPs to make sure that the Law Commission’s recommendations are finally turned into law.
This is a chance to change Britain for the better, develop the ability of a diverse group of community leaders to participate effectively in public life, to stand in solidarity with one another and demand a more robust response to hate crime. Let's get to work, together!
If you'd like to join one of our local campaign teams, contact your local Community Organiser or email Charlotte.Fischer@citizensuk.org. You can also share our video on misogyny hate crime and sign up to our mailing list to stay up to date with the campaign and take online action.
Our campaign to make misogyny a hate crime started in 2014 when our Nottingham Citizens alliance of community organisations conducted a large study on experiences of hate crime in the city. This culminated in a report which recommended that more be done to tackle hate crime generally, and misogyny in particular.
As a result, in 2016 Nottinghamshire Police became the first police in the country to allow women and girls to report cases of misogyny, offer support to victims and investigate perpetrators.
Why it matters
Classifying misogyny as a hate crime means that hateful attitudes to women in our society are being challenged and that women can walk taller on our streets, knowing that they are taken seriously. It also allows police forces to intervene and thus prevent more serious cases of violence from taking place later down the line.
A few police forces have voluntarily followed in Nottinghamshire’s steps, such as Avon and Somerset Police. But much more needs to be done. There are over 30 more police forces that don't treat misogyny as a hate crime and studies show that an overwhelming majority of young women (85%) and nearly half (45%) of all women have been sexually harassed in public places. Yet, only one in ten receives help after these incidents.
Nottingham Women's Centre pioneered this work and working with Nottingham Citizens secured this commitment from the Police Commission at a Citizens Assembly in 2016, after many months of community organising work and powerful public testimony from people affected by hate.
Now the city is reaping the benefits. In 2018 a study commissioned by Nottingham Trent and University of Nottingham showed there is clear support for the policy from men and women in the general public, as well as victims who have reported. The overall recommendations call for the policy to be rolled out nationally alongside publicity to increase reporting and education to help change behaviours.
We think every community should have safer streets and recourse to justice for women facing hate and harrassment.
How you can get involved
Write to your MP:
Ask your MP if they will back the campaign to make misogyny a hate crime - as we will need support from politicians as well as the police to make this happen.
Law Commission hearings:
We held a series of evidence hearings with the Law Commission in Newcastle, Birmingham, London, Cardiff and Manchester.
These hearings formed a powerful evidence base on why Hate Crime Law needs updating to better protect many different identity groups.
We will also use it to put forward a strong case for better protections for women from harassment and abuse - via misogyny being classified as a hate crime.
A report will be published in 2020. For more information on how to get involved. Contact: Charlotte.Fischer@citizensuk.org