British police force classifies wolf whistles, unwanted sexual advances as hate crimes

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Nottinghamshire police will record misogyny, including harassment of women, unwanted sexual advances and wolf whistling, as a “hate crime” in a bid to tackle sexist abuse.

That means harassment against women which is not strictly considered a crime, such as unwanted contact and taking photos without consent, can be reported to police and victim support provided.

Chief Constable Sue Fish told the BBC the new policy would make the country a safer place for women.

“What women face, often on a daily basis, is absolutely unacceptable and can be extremely distressing.

“Nottinghamshire Police is committed to taking misogynistic hate crime seriously and encourages anyone who is affected by it to contact us without hesitation.”

The force defines misogyny hate crime as: “Incidents against women that are motivated by an attitude of a man towards a woman and includes behaviour targeted towards a woman by men simply because they are a woman.”

The manager at Nottingham Women’s Centre, Melanie Jeffs, says recording such hate crime will give a detailed picture of how often, when and where it is happening.

“It has been very difficult to build that picture before but we will now get detailed data to analyze.

“Showing that the police take it seriously will also give people the confidence to come forward and report offences.”

Domestic abuse is not included within the scope of misogyny hate crime, as it is dealt with under its own procedures.

Police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland annually monitor five strands of hate crime: disability, gender identity, race, religion and sexual orientation.

Forces can include their own definition of a hate crime.