Newham Council to campaign for misogyny to be treated as a hate crime

The motion was discussed at a full council meeting. Picture: Ken Mears

The motion was discussed at a full council meeting. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Newham has the first London council to vow it will actively campaign to make misogyny a hate crime.

Members unanimously passed a motion at the full council meeting, which stated they will call on the borough’s police to record harassment of women as a hate crime.

The town hall will also make a submission to the Law Commission in favour of strengthening hate crime legislation to include misogyny.

The commission, which recommends legal changes, is proposing sex or gender should be made a protected characteristic in hate crime laws, in the same way as race, religion, trans identity, sexual orientation and disability.

It is due to report back on its recommendations before the end of the year.

Councillor Mumtaz Khan said: “Around the world women are making huge strides as leaders and innovators. We hear from global leaders, celebrities and business people on why gender equality is critical for a bright, stable future.

‘So why is it that we have such a high rate of hate crime towards women in British society? Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread , persistent and devastating humans rights violations and remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame around it.

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“The girls and woman in Newham need your help to ensure that we eliminate violence and hate crimes against women.

“The law needs to recognise that hate crime against women is appropriately dealt with.”

It follows the success of Nottinghamshire Police’s decision to recognise misogyny as a hate crime in 2016.

The policy received support from the general public, as well as an increase reporting and help for victims.

The motion was seconded by Rokhsana Fiaz – the UK’s first directly elected woman mayor – who warned that some men listening to the meeting would be guilty of misogyny.

She said: “I’m happy and proud to second this. Misogyny is a construct which gives preference to male privilege…for all of those men who are listing to this debate tonight, listen attentively because you are being watched and we will continue to watch you for your digressions and your missteps.”