The United Kingdom’s former victims’ commissioner and Conservative lawmaker Helen Newlove is leading an effort to make misogyny a hate crime despite opposition from the U.K.’s Conservative prime minister.
Newlove is pushing to include sex and gender identity as hate crime categories alongside identifiers like religion, sexual orientation abd disabilities. Specifically, it would give judges the ability to issue harsher punishments for people convicted of crimes prompted by hostility toward women, according to The Guardian.
The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made statements indicating he does not support Newlove’s effort.
“I think, to be perfectly frank, if you simply widen the scope of what you ask the police to do you’ll just increase the problem,” Johnson said when asked if he thought misogyny should be a hate crime, The Guardian reported.
“I was dismayed with it. Because at the end of the day, we need to fully understand how women feel,” Newlove said of Johnson’s remarks, per The Guardian.
The justice secretary, Dominic Raab, also expressed lack of support for the move. Raab received criticism last week after he said “misogyny is absolutely wrong whether it’s a man against a woman, or a woman against a man” during an interview with BBC about the issue.
Justice Secretary Dominic Raab MP was asked on #BBCBreakfast whether he believed misogyny should be treated as a hate crime.
He said “misogyny is absolutely wrong whether it’s a man against a woman, or a woman against a man”https://t.co/RIWo6f2kXN pic.twitter.com/8RGrwhlnnF
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) October 6, 2021
“If the rhetoric is we’re going to have an inquiry for Sarah Everard, for the prime minister to dismiss [making misogyny a hate crime] is not really to have understood what happened to her,” Newlove added, referring to the woman murdered by a police officer earlier this year.
“I’m disappointed and hopefully the government will start to listen,” she added.
Following Everard’s March murder, Johnson did announce his support for an “experimental” move to require police forces to collect data on crime’s committed as a result of hostility toward women, according to the Guardian.
Everard’s death prompted a wave of protests and demands for police reform. The former officer, Wayne Couzens, kidnapped and raped Everard as she was walking home from a friend’s house in March. Couzens pleaded guilty to her murder in July and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole last month.