UK Considers Making Sex-Based ‘Hostility’ a Hate Crime

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According to a UK Law Commission, people who stir up hostility on the basis of sex or gender should be prosecuted for hate speech, reports the BBC. While the commission argued that this was needed in England and Wales to combat a “growing threat” of “extreme misogyny,” it did not suggest treating other offenses motivated by anti-women prejudice as hate crimes, which has angered campaign groups. The commission also recommended changing hate crime laws to give disabled and LGBTQ+ victims the same protections as those targeted over their race or religion and suggested ministers set up a review into the need for a specific offense of public sexual harassment.

The legislation on stirring up hatred applies to cases relating to groups, rather than specific individuals. The commission says currently typically fewer than 10 cases a year are prosecuted and recommended extending hate speech laws to cover sexual orientation, disability and transgender identity. Currently, only racial and religious hostility are covered under the law. Several groups accused the commission of performing a U-turn, as it had recommended in another report last year that misogyny should be treated in the same way as other discrimination when it was the motivation for offenses.

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