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Around three million crimes have been committed against women and girls since the government promised a review into making misogyny a hate crime, new figures have revealed.
Analysis of data from the Crime Survey of England and Wales shows that an estimated 3,268,657 crimes have been committed against women since 2018. However, it is not known how many are motivated by misogyny.
Labour’s Stella Creasy said it shows why the government “cannot afford to wait” on updating hate crime legislation to cover misogyny.
Three years ago ministers asked the Law Commission to review hate crime legislation, including if protective characteristics such as sex and gender should be considered by new or existing law.
The commission’s consultation document, published September 2020, provisionally proposed that “sex or gender” be made a protected characteristic for the purposes of hate crime.
Creasy, the MP for Walthamstow, has been at the forefront of the campaign to make misogyny a hate crime, arguing that it would allow regular offenders to be identified and action taken to prevent further violence.
It could also enable judges and the Crown Prosecution Service to factor misogyny into decisions around prosecution and sentencing.
Separately today, a major report was published that argued stopping violence against women should be considered as much of a priority for the police as combating terrorism.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) found “problems, unevenness and inconsistencies” in the police’s response to the “epidemic” of violence against female victims in the UK.
The watchdog report was commissioned by home secretary Priti Patel in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard.
Creasy said the government should agree “now” to bring forward legislative proposals to give women and girls the “protection they deserve”.
She said: “Women and girls cannot afford to wait longer for the government to act to protect them from violence which they face solely because of their sex or gender. The current Law Commission process is immensely valuable, and ministers must commit to implementing it rather than putting it on a dusty shelf alongside other vital changes which never saw the light of day.
“Finally updating hate crime legislation to cover crimes motivated by sex or gender would show that the government is taking this violence seriously and acting accordingly.”
Earlier this year the government published its strategy to tackle violence against women and girls as they faced increased pressure following the murder of Everard.
A home office spokesperson said: “The government is totally committed to tackling violence against women and girls right across the country.
“As part of that, we have asked the Law Commission to conduct a wide-ranging review into hate crime to explore how current legislation can be used more effectively to tackle these awful crimes, and whether to add sex, gender or any other characteristics to the hate crime laws.
“We are currently waiting for the Law Commission’s recommendations and will respond to the review in full when it is complete.”
Government sources pointed to legislation they had introduced on honour based abuse, such as forced marriage and FGM, stalking and domestic abuse which disproportionately impact women.
The home office is also due to ask police forces on an experimental basis to record and identify crimes of violence where the victim perceives it has been motivated by a hostility based on their sex.
They are currently in consultation with the National Police Chiefs’ Council and forces on how to do it.