Refuge calls on MPs to back the ‘Newlove Amendment’ to make misogyny a hate crime, after Government confirmed it would not back amendment
Refuge calls on MPs to back the ‘Newlove Amendment’ to make misogyny a hate crime, after Government confirmed it would not back amendment:
This critical vote comes after Home Secretary announced she would tell police that tackling Violence Against Women and Girl should be given as much priority as fighting terrorism, child sexual abuse and organised crime.
Ruth Davison, Refuge CEO, says vote today provides ‘opportunity to put in place a suite of policies and practices that will protect women and girls’
Refuge, the country’s largest single provider of specialist domestic abuse services, is calling on MPs to vote in favour of the ‘Newlove Amendment’ to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill in Parliament today (Monday). This vote comes after the Home Secretary announced that the government would not be supporting the amendment.
If the amendment passed, misogyny would be added to the existing hate crime laws, and it would mean that the motivation for a crime based on sex or gender is considered during sentencing in the same way that homophobic or racist motivation is taken into account.
Refuge urges MPs of all parties to take a stand against violence against women and girls, and vote in favour of the amendment, arguing that it has the potential to transform how crimes against women and girls are dealt with.
While Refuge welcomes the Home Secretary’s earlier announcement that, in line with the recommendations in Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS report), she will be asking police to prioritise VAWG, but the charity argues the decision to reject the ‘Newlove Amendment’ is short sighted and that today’s vote provides an opportunity to move towards a much needed whole systems approach to tackling VAWG.
Refuge, alongside police chiefs, legal professors and violence against women and girls sector experts, believe that adding misogyny to our existing hate crime laws would have many benefits in the fight against violence against women and girls.
These include increasing public awareness, improving survivors’ confidence in reporting, and enhancing the police response to violence against women by illustrating the prevalence and geographical breakdown of these crimes across the country.
Ruth Davison, Refuge CEO, said:
“Last week, the Home Secretary signalled that the government would not back the ‘Newlove Amendment’. But there’s still time for her to listen to experts and do the right thing and change her mind.
“Over the weekend she announced that VAWG must be prioritised. Of course, this is a welcome move but tackling such a pervasive societal problem requires a whole system approach and change at every level.
The refusal to accept the ‘Newlove Amendment’ is frustrating because we know that the only way to properly protect women and girls is for the government to recognise the seriousness of the crimes committed against them. There is a real opportunity to do that today.
“This is why Refuge today urges all MPs to vote in favour of the amendment to make misogyny a hate crime and show the country that they are on the side of women and girls.”
Notes to Editors:
- Over 9,000 Refuge supporters have written to their MPs urging them to support the amendment which would ensure crimes driven by misogyny are recorded by the police as hate crimes.
- Refuge and others wrote a letter to the editor of the Telegraph on Wednesday 23rd of February. It rebuts the Home Secretary’s criticism of the amendment. The full text of the letter reads: The news that the Home Secretary will not support Baroness Newlove’s amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which would ensure crimes driven by misogyny are recorded by the police as hate crimes, is deeply disappointing. As signatories, we disagree with the Home Secretary’s claim that adding misogyny to our existing hate crime laws would be merely ‘tokenistic’ and prove “more harmful than helpful”, as well as the claim that introducing this change to hate crime legislation would make it harder to prosecute sexual offences and domestic abuse. The Newlove amendment includes a proposal for a ‘carve out’ for sexual offences and domestic abuse offences, which explicitly distinguishes between these offences and other forms of crime that may be motivated by misogyny, such as online abuse or street harassment. The use of ‘sex or gender’ follows the approach proposed by the Law Commission report on hate crime, ensuring that all crimes motivated by misogyny (or misandry) are captured by the new law, rather than leaving loopholes which could undermine the new system. We believe that the amendment has the potential to transform how crimes against women and girls are dealt with and would mean that the motivation for a crime based on sex or gender is treated in the same way as hostility towards other characteristics such as race or religion, disability, sexual orientation and transgender identity. The benefits of recording crimes as misogyny are clear. In 2016, Nottinghamshire Police became the first police force in the country to record cases of abuse and harassment against women and girls as misogyny under their Misogyny Hate Crime Policy. There was a 25% increase in reporting of crimes motivated by misogyny following the introduction of the policy, which demonstrated improved public awareness of these crime types, and an increase in survivors’ confidence in reporting to the police. The success of this pilot underscores the need for change and we urge the Home Secretary to reconsider her position. We hope that MPs take a stand against violence against women and girls in this country and vote to support the Newlove amendment in the House of Commons on the 28th of February.
Refuge supports thousands of women and children on any given day, and runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, which is the gateway to accessing specialist support across the country. More than one in four women in England and Wales experiences domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime, and two women a week are killed by a current or former partner.
Please signpost to Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247, available 24 hours a day 7 days a week for free, confidential specialist support. Or visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk to fill in a webform and request a safe time to be contacted or to access live chat (live chat available 3pm-10pm, Monday to Friday). For support with tech abuse visit refugetechsafety.org