Legal, gender and human-rights experts have been appointed to a working group to consider whether misogynistic behaviour should become an offence under Scots law.
The Scottish Government’s Hate Crime Bill would allow misogynistic harassment to become a standalone offence while also adding age prejudice to existing aggravating factors.
Human-rights lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy has been asked to lead a taskforce that will examine the case for making misogyny an offence.
Members of the group have now been appointed ahead of its first meeting later this month.
Human-rights lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy has been asked to lead a taskforce that will examine the case for making misogyny an offence as part of the Scottish Government’s Hate Crime Bill
They include lawyer Susan Kem, a former criminal investigator at the International Criminal Court in the Hague who also served on the United Nations’ team of experts on sexual violence in armed conflict.
Mona Rishmawi, head of the rule of law, equality and non-discrimination branch in the United Nations human rights commissioner’s office it also join the team.
The other members are Professor John Devaney from the University of Edinburgh who specialises in domestic abuse and gender-based violence, lawyer Shelagh McCall, a founding commissioner at the Scottish Human Rights Commission, Dr Chloe Kennedy, a law lecturer specialising in law and gender from the University of Edinburgh, and director of feminist advocacy organisation Engender Emma Ritch.
The group will aim to produce a report for the government on its findings from evidence sessions over the next 12 months.
Baroness Kennedy said: ‘This is an important piece of work addressing the special forms of violence, transgression and abuse experienced by women which may emanate from misogyny.
‘The law often fails women and the panel will consider the law’s capacity to address such crimes.’
The Scottish Government’s Hate Crime Bill would allow misogynistic harassment to become a standalone offence while also adding age prejudice to existing aggravating factors
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: ‘While Lord Bracadale, in his independent review of hate crime legislation, recommended that gender should be added to hate crime law, leading women’s organisations were opposed to this approach.
‘They also called for misogyny to be considered as a standalone, criminal offence in Scotland.
‘I am pleased to see that this important piece of work is now well under way, with an expert panel, appointed by Baroness Kennedy, to give this issue the proper consideration that it deserves.
‘This marks another important milestone in making our society safe, equal and fair.’
In Scotland, offences are currently aggravated by prejudice against a victim’s race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or their transgender status.
The Scottish Government’s proposed legislation would incorporate the existing aggravating factors and add the characteristic of age, with the potential to include sex at a later date so misogynistic harassment can become a standalone offence.
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