Police forces will be asked to record and identify any crimes of violence, including stalking and sexual offences, where the victim believed it to have been motivated by ‘hostility based on their sex’, a Home Office minister said.
Baroness Williams of Trafford added this would be done on an ‘experimental basis’ from the autumn and it could inform longer-term decisions once the Law Commission’s review of hate crime was complete.
Hours before the announcement, prime minister
The move came after a call by Labour’s Baroness Kennedy of Cradley, who warned of an ‘epidemic of violence’ against women and girls.
Gathering evidence about the prevalence of hostility towards women and girls was crucial to recognising connections, according to Lady Kennedy.
Move comes after Labour’s Baroness Kennedy of Cradley, who warned of an ‘epidemic of violence’ against women and girls following the death of Sarah Everard (right)
Speaking as the Lords considered amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill, Lady Kennedy added: ‘If we are not recording crime targeted at women, how can we effectively address violence against women and girls and the police’s response to it?’
Reacting to the decision, Fawcett Society chief executive Felicia Willow said: ‘We are delighted that this Government has accepted that misogyny should be treated as a hate crime.
‘Fawcett’s campaign showed there was overwhelming public support for this.
‘It’s essential that women have the confidence to report crimes and that they are taken seriously when they do.
‘This is a major step forward in changing how we understand, address and prevent violence against women – and one that we hope will help change attitudes towards women.’
Labour MP Stella Creasy, who has been campaigning for change, said recording where crimes are motivated by hatred of women will ‘help us better understand the scale of the problem’ and improve efforts to prevent crimes against them.
Wayne Couzens, 48, (right) was arrested following the death of 33-year-old marketing executive Sarah Everard
Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said: ‘I am relieved that the Government has recognised the need to act on misogyny and follow the lead already taken on this by some police forces.
‘If we are to better protect women and girls in this country, then crimes motivated by hatred towards women and girls must be treated as seriously as racially or religiously motivated hate crimes.
‘This is a moment when we are sadly too aware of the dangers. We are all grateful to everyone who has worked to make this possible.’
A women’s safety app that its developers say ‘shouldn’t have to exist’ has surged to the top of the download charts in the wake of Sarah Everard’s death.
WalkSafe has attracted more than 300,000 downloads within a week, becoming the number one free app on Apple’s iOS and entering the top 10 on Android.
Serving Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, is accused of kidnapping and murdering 33-year-old Everard, as she walked home from a friend’s flat in Clapham, south London, in the evening on March 3.
The app includes a map of previously reported incidents nearby that makes users aware of any potential ‘danger zones’ and helping them plan a safer route home.
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