The Politics of Misogyny

Successes and Shortcomings of Misogyny Hate Crime Initiative

Actions like upskirting, catcalling, flashing or groping have firmly entered the vocabulary of contemporary British society. With an overwhelming number of people, mostly women, in the UK reporting that they are regularly harassed on the street, in nightclubs or while enjoying a run in the park, the Nottinghamshire Police has piloted an initiative that records misogynistic incidents as a hate crime. Recording the incidents since 2016, the force defines misogyny as "incidents against women that are motivated by the attitude of men towards women and includes behaviour targeted at women by men simply because they are women". Pioneered and long campaigned for by the civil society in Nottingham, namely Citizens UK and Nottingham’s Women Centre, this initiative has received a lot of praise and criticism.

Dr Kat Krulisova of the Department of Politics and International Relations is bringing together Amelia Womack, Deputy Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, Dr Loretta Trickett, Associate Professor of Nottingham Law School, and Sue Fish OBE, former Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police to debate the issue with a public audience. Loretta has authored a report evaluating the initiative in Nottingham and has a research focus on hate crime. Amelia is a vocal advocate of the policy, sharing her own personal experiences of an abusive relationship to encourage women to report misogynistic crime to the police and tirelessly pressing for the law to be rolled out nationally. Sue has been a central driving force in the Nottinghamshire Police that pressed for swift and effective implementation of the pilot.

Recently, the Law Commission has started its revision into change in hate crime legislation, following Labour’s MP Stella Creasy’s call to change the Voyeurism Bill. Creasy has proposed that this change would allow judges to take into account whether misogyny should be treated as an aggravating factor in sentencing. Furthermore, it has been argued that this review sends a strong message and positive signal to victims of misogynistic acts. Seeking to change attitudes, misogyny is to be no longer perceived as a part of everyday life of women, and the Hate Crime initiative demonstrates how the clear message that such actions will not be tolerated and will be tackled by the government can be sent by both men and women. Rolling out Nottinghamshire Police pilot nationwide would certainly represent a step into a right direction according to proponents of the reviewed law.

At the same time, the initiative has its vocal critics. Recently, the head of Scotland Yard, Cressida Dick, publicly denounced the policy, calling it outside of the remit of “core policing”. Despite the overwhelming public support that the Nottinghamshire pilot received, Dick argues that dealing with misogyny should not be the job of the police and it is not appropriate for it to focus on it at the expense of other crimes, such as tackling violent crime and burglary. These comments have been described by Sue Fish as shameful, reinforcing the notion that women are not worthy of service from the police.

The Wednesday’s debate taking place at Nottingham Trent University will focus on both the successes and shortcomings of the pilot and its potential future as nationwide law. The speakers will comment from their perspectives on the policy and hurdles that such initiatives must overcome in the public sphere, and will answer any of your questions related to the topic.

This session is part of the UK’s national Parliament Week and aims to showcase how important social issues can move into the political environment to change policy and peoples everyday experiences. To find out more about Nottingham Trent’s Parliament Week activities visit our webpage now.

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Nottingham Civic Exchange

Nottingham Civic Exchange has been established by Nottingham Trent University to maximise research, policy and practical impact by bringing together university expertise with partners seeking to address the needs of local communities. Nottingham Civic Exchange acts as a resource to look at social and economic issues in new ways. This means facilitating debate, acting as a bridge between research and policy debates, and developing practical projects at a local, city and regional level.

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The Politics of Misogyny

Published on 13 November 2018
  • Category: Nottingham Civic Exchange; School of Social Sciences

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