Jail time for misogyny? UK mulls making offenses based on contempt for women a hate crime

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Hate crimes in England and Wales could include misogyny, that is, hatred for women or any prejudice against women, a move that has been recommended by the British Independent Legal Services Commission, which is proposing possible changes to the legislation.

Under current rules, a hate crime is when a victim becomes the target of an attack because of their race, religion, sexual orientation or due to a disability. Transgender people are also give protected status. 

As hate crimes are considered to be serious violations of the law, they usually result in higher penalties than common offenses.

The Legal Commission has reviewed hate crime laws in England and Wales and proposes to include sex and gender among protected characteristics in hate crime laws, according to Czech news portal Idnes.cz. The aim is to protect mainly women.

Some people have been also calling for street harassment of women to be recognized as a specific offense.

“Misogyny drives crimes against women – recognizing that within our criminal justice system will help us detect and prevent offenses including sexual assault, rape, and domestic abuse,” says Labor MP Stella Creasy.

By the end of the year, the Commission will discuss this as well as other changes even further. Next year, it will present a final recommendation to the government.

The Legal Commission has been set up by the British Parliament to oversee the law in England and Wales and, if necessary, to propose reforms. Scotland and Northern Ireland also have their own legal commissions.

Although Czech law perceives committing a hate crime as an aggravating circumstance, it does not mention misogyny, specifically.

Title image: In this Tuesday, March 5, 2013 file photo people hold banners during a demonstration against domestic violence near Big Ben in London, in the lead up to International Women’s Day. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

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