Men who catcall women on street should be charged with 'hate crime', Labour MP says

Posted on Mar 6 2018 - 9:21pm by admin

The frontbencher believes a change in the law would give women the confidence to report “unacceptable behaviour” by men in public.

Ms Onn will also call for a pilot scheme in Nottinghamshire, which treated misogynistic acts towards women as hate crimes, to be rolled out nationwide.

This means catcalling or wolf-whistling would be, in theory, be treated as seriously as racism or homophobia by police.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s debate, the Great Grimsby MP said the Government needed to “change the law to protect women”.

She said: “If a woman takes this kind of behaviour as a compliment, then good for them. They will have no reason to make a complaint if they are catcalled or wolf-whistled.

“But I do think such women are in the minority.

“The situation of people getting that kind of reaction when pushing their kids in a pram seems massively inappropriate. This is a ‘think again’ policy.

“Would a man who does this be happy if it was their sister or mother being a victim of it? They might feel angry that someone treated a woman they know so well as an object.”

In 2016, Nottinghamshire Police began treating misogynistic acts as hate crimes as part of a trial scheme.

The force defined such acts as “incidents against women that are motivated by an attitude of a man towards a woman”.

In the first eight months of the scheme 79 misogynistic acts were recorded, with 31 of them categorised as hate crimes.

Speaking to the Grimsby Telegraph, shadow housing minister Ms Orr added: “I’ve been told by police that women don’t necessarily report these incidents, such as men standing far too close to them on public transport.

“In my experience, the first thing you do in that situation is doubt yourself that it is even happening. And even when you know it is, you don’t know if the perpetrator will react aggressively if you do confront them about it.

“This could also include someone who catcalls a woman in the street or follows a woman out of a shop to chat them up when it is unwanted.

“I think these are warning signs and this change would give women the confidence to report these things.

“These things might be considered ‘banter’ or flirtatious but, if they are received as unwelcome in the way it is delivered, then it can be tantamount to harassment, even in a one-off case.”

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