Despite mounting calls for change following the murder of Sarah Everard, an official review has stopped calling for wrongly making a hate crime.
The Law Commission said that gender or gender should not be made a “protected attribute” which can be used to record incidents and enhance sentences with caste, religion and other factors.
After a review commissioned by the government in 2018, the independent body said the move would be “ineffective and, in some cases, counterproductive in protecting women and girls”.
A report published Tuesday found the change could create a “hierarchy of victims” and make rape and domestic abuse trials more difficult.
Amid calls to tackle the “epidemic” level of violence against women and girls is the situation with senior police officers, who publicly backed making the malpractice a hate crime last month.
The national police lead for hate crimes, Mark Hamilton, said he supported the addition of gender or gender to the current list of personally protected characteristics.
In November, he told a conference in London that this would not make officials “bureaucratic” and added: “I think it’s a good way to understand delinquent behavior and to stop things moving from more petty crimes to sexually-motivated crime.” A good way. And murder.”
At least 11 police forces in the UK are already registering misogyny as a hate crime based on their definition, with Nottinghamshire Police becoming the first in 2016.
Instead, the Law Commission recommended increasing the crime of sex and gender hatred, saying it would help combat the growing menace of the “Incel” ideology.
But the report acknowledged that the crime, currently only covering hate in relation to race, religion and sexual orientation, is rarely prosecuted and results in an average of 10 lawsuits a year.
The Law Commission called on the government to consider making it a specific offense to deal with public sexual harassment, saying it “would be more effective than adding sex or gender to hate crime laws”.
A group of women’s rights and hate crime organisations, including the Fawcett Society and Citizen UK, said the review did not offer any option “to help address widespread concerns about the lack of action by the criminal justice system”.
The statement, signed by Labor MP Stella Cressey and former Nottinghamshire chief constable Sue Fish, said: “The Law Commission report will leave many women disappointed and dismayed.”
“The commission’s review is too narrow and does not recognize the value of including malpractices to enable the recording of events that are currently invisible. By not engaging in hate crime legislation, it specifically ignores the experiences of women from minority communities.” who experience disgust based on a number of factors, yet are all let down by the criminal justice system because they don’t fit their tick box.”
The groups said they would “continue to fight” for the misogyny to become a hate crime, and pushed for it to be filed by all police forces.
Hate crimes include existing criminal offenses, such as assault or harassment, where the victim is targeted on the basis of hostility toward one or more protected characteristics—currently race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and transgender identity.
“Augmented” versions of offenses may be prosecuted with higher potential penalties, or judges may increase the punishment at the stage of sentencing.
The Law Commission said there were discrepancies on which protected characteristics were covered by different powers, and called for changing existing hate crime laws to treat all equally.
It also recommended measures it said would protect freedom of expression and ensure that “only the most serious hate speech is criminalised”.
These include protections for “private dialogue”, “gender critical” views, criticism of foreign governments and discussions of cultural practices, immigration, asylum and citizenship policy.
The Law Commission said neutral reporting of provocative hate speech by third parties should also be exempted from prosecution.
Professor Penny Lewis, the Law Commission’s Criminal Law Commissioner, said: “Hate crime has horrific effects on victims and it is unacceptable that current levels of protection are so inconsistent.
“Our recommendations will improve protections for victims, while also ensuring that the right to freedom of expression is protected.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “We are grateful to the Law Commission that it has given detailed consideration to reviewing hate crime laws.
“The government will consider its proposals carefully and respond to the recommendations in due course.”
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /