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Misogyny is going to be treated as a hate crime for the first time in the UK.
Police officers in the UK are to classify misogyny and incidents of harassment against women as hate crimes for the first time, under new measures.
Nottinghamshire Police announced crimes ranging from harassment on the street to aggressive physical approaches will be recorded as hate crimes, becoming the first force in the country to change its definition.
The force now defines misogynistic hate crime as “incidents against women that are motivated by an attitude of a man towards a woman, and includes behaviour targeted towards a woman by men simply because they are a woman”.
By the end of July, selected Nottinghamshire officers and staff will have completed comprehensive misogyny hate crime training, in keeping with the new guidelines.
Planning for the scheme began in summer 2014, when members of the police force met with women’s rights campaigners and staff from Nottingham Women’s Centre.
Officers listened to a range of testimonials from women who had been harassed, abused and attacked in the city of Nottingham over the past few years.
Sam Smethers, chief executive at the Fawcett Society which campaigns for women’s rights, told the Independent: “This is what the Fawcett Society has been calling for. Nottinghamshire Police’s commitment to taking misogynistic hate crime seriously should be welcomed and rolled out nationwide.
What women face, often on a daily basis, is absolutely unacceptable and can be extremely distressing
Meanwhile, Nottinghamshire Police’s chief constable Sue Fish said the force was committed to tackling misogyny “in all its forms”.
“What women face, often on a daily basis, is absolutely unacceptable and can be extremely distressing,” she said. “It’s a very important aspect of the overall hate crime work being conducted and one that will make Nottinghamshire a safer place for all women.
“Nottinghamshire Police is committed to taking misogynistic hate crime seriously and encourages anyone who is affected by it to contact us without hesitation.”
The use of mobile devices to send unwanted or uninvited messages or take photographs without consent or permission are also included in the guidelines for officers.
The force confirmed that domestic abuse will not be included in the scope of misogynistic hate crime as there are separate procedures already in place.
Melanie Jeffs, Centre Manager at Nottingham Women’s Centre, said: “We’re pleased to see Nottinghamshire Police recognise the breadth of violence and intimidation that women experience on a daily basis in our communities.
“Understanding this as a hate crime will help people to see the seriousness of these incidents and hopefully encourage more women to come forward and report offences.”