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UK to look at whether “misogyny” should invoke harsher criminal sentences

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A recent report from the Law Commission reveals that “misogyny” could end up becoming a criminal offense in England and Wales. As of now, the independent body that tends to review laws will take a closer look at whether people criticizing women on the sole basis of gender deserve harsher punishments and sentences as part of so-called “hate crime” laws.

Evidence from police officers, victims, and prosecutors, among others, is being collected by the Commission to review the laws surrounding misogyny and hate crimes.

“Misogyny drives crimes against women – recognising that within our criminal justice system will help us detect and prevent offences including sexual assault, rape and domestic abuse. I now urge every woman who has walked with keys in her hands at night, been abused or attacked online or offline to come forward and be heard in this consultation,” said the Labour MP Stella Creasy.

The consultation will also review the extent of “online abuse” and how threats of violence received by women influence their overall quality of public life. It will also be decided whether the misogyny law should be exclusive to women or for both the genders alike. It is worth noting that the consultation about misogyny is actually a part of a larger consultation about hate crimes at large.

Generally speaking, there is a clear legislation that applies to the cases where hatred is incited due to racial reasons which result in behaviors that are “threatening, abusive, or insulting.” But on the other hand, the same is not true when it comes to hatred incited due to prejudice or discrimination towards a particular gender or religion.

Only threatening behavioral patterns can be prosecuted when it comes to hate crimes incited due to discrimination against certain sexual orientations or religion. In most cases, longer sentences are the norm in cases where harassment, criminal damage, or assault takes place due to hatred against a certain group of people.

“Hate crime has no place in our society and we have seen the terrible impact that it can have on victims. Our proposals will ensure all protected characteristics are treated in the same way, and that women enjoy hate crime protection for the first time,” said Professor Penney Lewis, a criminal law commissioner.

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