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Write to your Police and Crime Commissioner

Background:

On the same day as the local elections in many parts of England and Wales, Thursday 7th May, voters have the chance to vote for their Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) alongside local Councillors. Police and Crime Commissioners are responsible for ensuring that their regioned is policed effectively and that police forces, in particular Chief Constables, are held to account in line with the needs, concerns and priorities of local communities. PCCs

A list of candidates is here - please write to those in your area and ask them where they stand

You can adapt and send the letter below.

Dear [Name of PCC candidate],

As my candidate for the post of Police and Crime Commissioner in [insert your local area], I am writing to you to encourage you to support making misogyny a hate crime.

Having recently celebrated International Women's Day, and mindful that the Law Commission is already reviewing whether current hate crime protections are adequate, it would send a fantastic message if you as my local candidate Police and Crime Commissioner would support publically the campaign to make misogyny a hate crime.

In the last year, the global movements #MeToo and #TimesUp have highlighted the scale of sexual harassment and abuse experienced primarily by women in the workplace. However, many women still don’t feel safe in our streets.

Across the UK, an overwhelming huge majority of young women (85%) and nearly half (45%) of all women have been sexually harassed in public places. [1] Only one in ten received help after these incidents. Almost half of young women are consciously doing safety-planning, including avoiding public transport at night. Harassment is often amplified for disabled women, LGBT women, black and minority ethnic women and Muslim women.

In 2014, Nottingham Citizens - part of the Citizens UK alliance of civic institutions - used the findings of an in-depth study on hate crime to ask the local police force to include misogyny as a new strand of hate crime in recognition of the fact that so many women experience abuse, simply for being women. As a result, Nottinghamshire Police became the first police force in the country to start recording misogynistic hate crime. [2] Since then, other police forces have followed suit, such as in Northamptonshire and Avon and Somerset.

Categorising misogyny as a hate crime won’t end violence against women, but challenging the normalisation of these attitudes on our streets and in public life can help challenge violence against women and girls in wider society. Recording these incidents also provides a vital evidence base. When police forces treat these incidents seriously, women’s trust in the police increases.

As a candidate up for election, I encourage you to let voters know that you take the safety of women and girls seriously and will work with relevant parties in the police force to begin treating misogyny as the form of hate crime that we know it is. We can, and should, act now and follow the example of police forces in Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Devon and Cornwall, Avon and Somerset and North Yorkshire already reporting on hate affecting women.

[1]: Data on violence against women and girls: End Violence Against Women and Girls Coalition: https://www.endviolenceagainstwomen.org.uk/about/data-on-violence-against-women-and-girls/

[2] BBC News: Nottinghamshire Police records misogyny as a hate crime: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-36775398

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