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Police and Crime Commissioner elections are coming up. Do you know what your local candidates stand for? Do they, for instance, know the difference between a man and a woman?
You can find who your local PCC is here: https://apccs.police.uk/find-your-pcc/
Kick up a fuss on social media using the hashtag #AskYourPCC
Here is a letter that you can send to them:
Dear Sir/ Madam,
Subject: Misogyny is not Gender Neutral – Open Letter to PCC’s
I understand you are standing for the role of Police and Crime Commissioner for our County in the local elections taking place next month on May 6th, 2021.
I would like to ask about your commitment to supporting victims of crime, in particular female victims of crime in the wake of Sarah Everard’s tragic murder, and what plans you have for providing specialist services for female victims of hate crime, sexual violence and domestic violence.
A recent decision was passed in the House of Lords stating that police forces in England and Wales are set to record misogyny as a hate crime on an experimental basis from this autumn.
Speaking in the House of Lords, Home Office Minister Baroness Williams said “On an experimental basis we will ask police forces to record and identify any crimes of violence against the person including stalking and harassment, and sexual offences where the victim perceives it to have been motivated by a hostility based on their sex”.
This is a welcome development to me, given the significant physical and emotional effect misogyny has on victims and to society. I believe reporting specific incidents on biological SEX, will allow the Constabulary to be able to deliver an enhanced level of service to support FEMALE victims & reduce Sex hate incidents and misogyny across the country.
I understand each force is free to record crimes for their own purposes of record-keeping by whatever Protected Characteristic they see fit. However, given Sarah was tragically murdered on the basis of her Female Sex, not Gender, I hope you will not be following in Derbyshire Constabulary’s footsteps, who have announced that as of Monday 5 April 2021, the force will be including “gender hate” under its definition of hate incidents and crime in Derbyshire.
Derbyshire Police categorise gender hate as: “A crime or any non-crime incident, which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s gender or perceived gender.”
I find this categorisation bizarre, given “Gender Hate” is already covered under “Gender Reassignment” as a protected characteristic in the 2010 Equality Act, and monitored as one of the five strands of Hate Crime under Transgender Identity.
There is no current “Sex Hate” provision, even though Women are regularly the target of offending behaviour based on hostility towards their sex. In my opinion, there needs to be a better understanding of the intersection between instances of hatred directed against people with different characteristics, or we risk making a failure of the mission to understand and tackle Misogyny, which is different from Transphobia. Infact, the Office for Statistics Regulation recently emphasised the need for clarity about definitions and gave the example of criminal justice statistics as a place where recording of sex has become muddled by the undefined introduction of “gender”.
It is now well-established that women in public life face much higher levels of online abuse than men, with consequences for their participation. Three quarters (71%) of British women have taken action to guard against the threat of harassment: this rises to 88% for 18-24 year olds. Femicide Census estimates that on average a woman is killed by a man every 3 days. https://www.femicidecensus.org/
Subsuming the Characteristic of Sex under “Gender” would not only mean inconsistencies with the characteristics in the 2010 Equality Act, it also means we would continue to have no statistics on offences motivated by prejudice based on biological sex on its own, or how this intersects with other characteristics.
Defining misogyny by “Sex” is not only grammatically and linguistically accurate, it would mean that public information campaigns and local initiatives can, at last, start to send the message that hatred based on prejudice against Women is as unacceptable as other forms, and statistics can be collected. It would also make tracking crimes against women and their children easier and enhance the ability to run, commission and protect female only services for survivors of domestic abuse.
We need to make talking about male violence easier, not harder. What use is a definition of “misogyny” which doesn’t mention women? The law and the police under your command can only protect Women properly if they identify female victims correctly (i.e. biological sex). By recording these incidents ACCURATELY, it will assist (insert name of police force) in analysing and identifying threats and trends, and can aid you in properly protecting vulnerable female victims.
Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you, and perhaps meeting you, regarding your plans about implementing best practice ways to tackle misogyny, including:
- Comprehensive SEX hate training sessions for officers in the constabulary.
- Ensuring female dignity and safety is given due regard, in matters such as strip searches, so that only female bodied individuals carry out a strip search on female suspects. (I am very concerned that Point 2.8 in the recently released Code of Practice for Victims of Crime doesn’t clarify this, and only makes reference to “the police officer conducting the interview is of a gender of your choice”) https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/974376/victims-code-2020.pdf
- Ensuring accurate and consistent reporting on Sex hate offences, (offences are recorded by biological sex and not gender identity), takes place.