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Decision details

Misogyny and Hate Crime

Decision Maker: Council

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No

Decision:

RESOLVED:

The Council notes:

 

·           That the Law Commission is currently reviewing all current hate crime legislation to consider whether any additional characteristics, including misogyny, should be granted legal protection, and is due to report back to Parliament in 2020. Misogyny is not currently recorded as a hate crime by the vast majority of police forces in the UK, outside of a handful of trial areas.

 

·           That this review was thanks to the tireless work of Stella Creasy and her long campaign to have misogyny classified as a hate crime - which her amendment to the Voyeurism (Offences) (No.2) Bill, or Upskirting Bill would have secured – alongside groups such as Citizens UK.

 

·           That Stella Creasy is facing appalling abuse from anti-abortion protestors in our borough, in which the perpetrators have openly admitted that they have deliberately targeted her as a pregnant woman. The abuse Stella has received in recent weeks precisely demonstrates why women in our borough need additional legal protection.

 

·           That like women and girls across the country our residents suffer harassment and abuse every single day. Groups such as Waltham Forest Women Take Back the Streets report multiple instances of street harassment several times a day. A YouGov national survey in 2016 showed that 85% of women aged 18-24 were subjected to sexual harassment in public.

 

·           The adoption of misogyny as a hate crime was successfully implemented in Nottingham, where analysis showed an increase in reporting as well as an increase in the use of wider services. It also showed the vast majority of local people wanted the scheme to continue.

 

·           Studies have shown that the intersectional nature of discrimination means that women with additional protected characteristics, such as those who are BAME, disabled or LGBT+, are even more likely to experience harassment, discrimination and abuse. There have been high profile instances in this borough where Muslim women wearing hijabs have been targeted. One of the most marginalised groups in society are consistently found to be the trans community and those who present as non-binary and gender non-conforming. A 2018 Stonewall report found that two in five trans people (41 per cent) and three in ten non-binary people (31 per cent) have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last 12 months.

 

·           Despite huge cuts to policing in London from central Government, The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has invested a record £44 million in tackling violence and harassment against women and girls.

 

·           That Waltham Forest council has maintained our investment in VAWG services, introducing an innovative Safe and Together model to improve our approach to violence against women and girls across council services.

 

The Council resolves:

 

·           To make a submission to the Law Commission’s Consultation at the earliest opportunity in favour of strengthening hate crime legislation and making misogyny a hate crime.

 

·           To call on the Government to listen to the lived experience of women and girls across our country and to urgently act on any recommendations the commission makes to strengthen the law on hate crime, and to reform legislation around harassment to recognise as an offence a ‘course of conduct’ which targets women and girls in their community.

 

·           To call on the Government to provide the resource and funding for police forces across the UK to effectively tackle harassment, misogyny and domestic abuse.

 

·           To call on the Met Police to record harassment of women as a hate crime, following successful trials in Nottingham and elsewhere.

 

·           That we are proud as a council to fight against all forms of discrimination but that there is still more to do; to take steps such as adopting the APPG definition of Islamophobia and to use our new citizens assemblies model to work with residents to tackle all forms of discrimination and hatred and will make sure misogyny as a hate crime is considered at those assemblies. We will fully support the addition of misogyny as a hate crime to hate crime legislation, which will help to protect Muslim women in particular who we see targeted for no other reason than exercising their citizen’s right to wear a hijab or niqab. Further, we believe that all our residents should be able to dress however they chose without feeling threatened or harassed.

 

·           To reiterate our solidarity with Stella Creasy and to fully support council officers in using all legal means to ensure the safety and well-being of our local MP and women and girls across our borough. 

Publication date: 18/10/2019

Date of decision: 17/10/2019

Decided at meeting: 17/10/2019 - Council