Making Misogyny a Hate Crime: Potential Merits

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons at on 8 March 2023.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Sarah Dines Sarah Dines The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

I am going to have to be quicker, or I will never get on the “Women in Westminster: the 100” list.

The Law Commission recommended against adding sex and gender to the hate crime laws. It found that the addition of those characteristics might make the prosecution of crimes that disproportionately affect women and girls more difficult. The Government share the Law Commission’s concern. Parliament repeatedly voted against making misogyny a hate crime last year, and there are no plans to change.

Photo of Wera Hobhouse Wera Hobhouse Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Transport), Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change)

I recognise the arguments that have been made. Most violence against women originates in misogyny. Therefore, making misogyny a hate crime would send such a powerful signal to all offenders that all their offences will be taken with the utmost seriousness and investigated properly. Victims of Wayne Couzens have argued that, if only their reports of his indecent exposure had been taken seriously, Sarah Everard might still be alive today. Is it not time that we made misogyny a hate crime?

Photo of Sarah Dines Sarah Dines The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

I beg to disagree. It may send a signal, but it is more of a virtue signal than a real signal. We have more police officers than ever, and we are determined to stamp out violence against women and girls.