9 JULY 2018

Gender equality campaigners have been joined by some of the Jewish and Muslim leaders, anti-hate charities, student union representatives and community groups who make up Citizens UK in delivering a joint call aimed at 46 Police Chiefs of England and Wales as they hold a key vote on whether misogynistic abuse and harassment of women will be made part of national hate crime reporting.

New research from a 2-year study by Nottingham Women’s Centre found nearly half of women in the city had experienced unwanted sexual advances (48.9%), groping (46.2%) and over a quarter experienced indecent exposure (25.9%) [1] 

Video by Citizens UK. Co-sign the letter here. 

An open letter co-signed by Fawcett Society, civil society alliance Citizens UK, senior faith leaders and NGOs asks the National Police Chiefs Council to vote to record misogyny as a hate crime nationwide at the upcoming NPCC meeting which will see police chiefs from across the country come together. The letter coincides with the release of a new 2-year study by Nottingham’s Women Centre which revealed the success that Nottinghamshire Police’s decision to become the first police force in the UK to record misogyny as a hate crime had.

Harassment and abuse of women was found to be of endemic proportions in the Nottingham study, with 9 in 10 of the 679 men and women surveyed witnessing or experiencing incidents of this nature. In the small number of cases when an incident was reported as a misogynistic hate crime, women reported high levels of satisfaction with Nottinghamshire Police.  
The letter [below] notes that, as highlighted by the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, the abuse, harassment and problematic behavior that many women are subject to can create a culture of impunity in society, leading to more severe crimes.
Leading members of civil society alliance Citizens UK backed the letter as well as anti-hate groups. The groups have come together to make the case for the monitoring of misogynistic acts targeting women need alongside antisemitism, islamophobia, homophobia; one of a number of policy changes required to improve the UK’s record on violence against women and girls.
Currently five police forces of 46 forces in England and Wales undertake local reporting on misogyny hate crimes, after Nottinghamshire became the first to adopt the policy in 2016. Police chiefs have the opportunity to vote on a motion this week to ensure all forces report street harassment, online abuse and other acts directed at women because of their gender as hate crimes.  
In 2014, Nottingham branch of Citizens UK study found that 38 percent of women reporting a hate crime explicitly linked it to their gender. [2] Following the report, Nottingham Women's Centre and Nottingham Citizens worked with the local Police Force to pioneer the reporting of misogyny hate crime across the county. 
Since then, Police Chiefs have faced growing calls from community organisations for action on Misogyny: just this Wednesday 80 people led by a group of 15-year-old girls at a local school, including victims of misogynistic abuse and violence, delivered a letter to Lewisham Police Station asking that the Metropolitan Police adopt the policy in London.  
Sajid Mohammed, CEO of Himmah and a Citizens UK Council member said: 
"Misogynistic abuse is an everyday reality for women and the same hateful attitude which breeds Islamophobia and anti-semitism can be directed at women because of their gender. Nationwide misogyny hate crime reporting would allow police, the public and law makers to fully understand the scale of the day to day abuse and harassment women face, so that we can build a society that does not tolerate hate directed against any person on the basis of their identity." 

Helen Voce, Nottingham Womens Centre said:  
We believe misogyny is the “soil” in which violence against women and girls (VAWG) grows. The same attitudes at the root of sexism and harassment are the same attitudes that drive more serious domestic and sexual violence. Classifying misogyny as a hate crime enables the police to deal robustly with the root causes of violence against women.” 
Sam Smethers, CEO Fawcett Society said: 
"Misogyny is so widespread it has become normalised in our society. As a result women are routinely objectified and harassed. Unless we challenge it, this won't change. We have to start calling misogyny out for what it is - a hate crime." 
[1] Nottingham Trent University conducted a 2-year study into the implementation ofmisogyny hate crime in the city on behalf of the Women's Centre and Police Commissioner’s office, the results will be published on Monday 9th July. An Executive Summary is available on request. 
[2] End Violence Against Women coalition data: https://www.endviolenceagainstwomen.org.uk/about/data-on-violence-against-women-and-girls/  
[3] Nottingham Citizens ‘No Place for Hate’ Commission report: http://www.citizensuk.org/notts_commission  


Make misogyny a recorded hate crime for every police force 

In the last year, the global movements #MeToo and #TimesUp have driven an awareness campaign highlighting the scale of sexual harassment and abuse experienced primarily by women in the workplace. However, while the #TimesUp campaign created a legal fund for women to challenge workplace harassment, many women still don’t feel safe in our streets. 

Across the UK, a 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, led by female students at Nottingham Trent University and Nottingham Women’s Centre, Nottingham Citizens used the findings of an in-depth study of hate crime to ask the local police force to include misogyny as a new strand because so many women experience abuse, simply for being women. Nottinghamshire Police became the first police force in the country to start recording misogyny hate crime and other forces have since followed suit. 

Categorising misogyny as a hate crime won’t end violence against women, but if we can challenge the normalisation of these attitudes on our streets and in public life we can 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. 

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) are shortly meeting to discuss a national policy change. We urge them to agree that all police forces in England and Wales should record misogyny as a hate crime so that we can begin to address the underlying cause of violence against women and girls, which is endemic in our society. 

Yours sincerely,                            

Helen Voce, CEO, Nottingham Womens Centre

Sarah Holtam,  Co-Chair, Citizens UK   

Sam Smethers, CEO, Fawcett Society             

Rabbi Laura Janner Klausner, Senior Rabbi, Reform Judaism            

Harun Khan, Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain 

Sajid Mohammed, CEO,  Himmah  

Dr Jason Pandya-Wood, Nottingham Trent University  

Martha Jepchott, Middlesex University SU

Rabbi Charley Baginsky, Liberal Judaism  

Dermot Bryers, CEO, EFA London (English for Action).  

Onjali Q. Raúf, Founder, Making Herstory             

Paul Sternberg, Associate Dean, Ravensbourne University