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Is being sexist or misogynistic a crime?

by Sep 24, 2018Criminal Law, General News, In The Media0 comments

Is being sexist or misogynistic a crime?

Sometimes acts of sexism are considered a crime, but not always.

A couple of years ago, Nottinghamshire Police made some changes and decided that misogynistic and sexist offences targeting women should be considered hate crimes or hate incidents. Two universities carried a report following these changes entitled “The Misogyny Hate Crime Evaluation” which recommends implementing this policy nationally.

Misogyny hate crime is defined as “incidents against women that are motivated by the attitude of men towards women and includes behaviour targeted at women by men simply because they are women.”

This definition can include behaviour that is not criminal; non-criminal cases are recorded as hate incidents rather than hate crime, so something such as wolf-whistling most likely would be recorded as a hate incident.

Although the policy does not criminalise this type of behaviour, it could result in a discussion, such as speaking with building site managers if their workers are wolf-whistling.

In Belgium such behaviour can be considered criminal. A man has been convicted under a new law which does criminalise sexism. After being stopped driving his car he told the female police officer to do a job “adapted to women”. He was fined €3,000 for insulting the officer because of her gender.

The offence in Belgium is expressing contempt toward a person because of their sexuality or treating them as inferior due to their sexuality; if it entails a serious attack on their dignity, it is punishable by up to 12 months in prison.

Across Europe, more action is being taken to make sexism a punishable offence. In France, they are preparing to create an offence of street harassment that is “sexist and sexual outrage”. Also, in Stockholm sexist advertising was recently banned while the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has attempted to ban body shaming adverts.

In July, UK chief constables met to discuss whether the policy in Nottinghamshire would be rolled out nationwide. MPs are also to vote on whether misogyny should be made a hate crime. These developments demonstrate how the law is constantly evolving in this area.

How can we help?

You can be assured that we stay up to date as the law changes and will be able to provide you with expert, tailored advice. If you have been accused of any crime we can assist you, if you would like advice on any aspect of your case please contact Morton’s Solicitors on 0161 477 1121 or

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