PHOTO CAPTION: Image of the Take Back The Night march in Alamogordo, New Mexico on April 23, 2010. Take Back The Night is an international program of rallies and protest marches against sexual violence. COURTESY: AllenS/Wikipedia.

Lawmakers in England and Wales have proposed expanding hate law crimes to include misogyny. A new paper by the Law Commission, an independent body established by Parliament to review laws and to recommend reforms, suggests treating gender-based crimes the same as other forms of discrimination when misogyny is the motivation.

Seven police forces in England and Wales already classify misogyny as a hate crime, but the legal definition is not universally applied.

Currently, hate crimes in England and Wales are defined as assault, harassment, or criminal damage due to the victim’s race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or transgender status, according to the Law Commission’s website.

“There have also been calls for hate crime laws to be expanded to include new protected characteristics to tackle hatred such as misogyny and ageism, and hostility towards other groups such as homeless people, sex workers, people who hold non-religious philosophical beliefs (for example, humanists) and alternative subcultures (for example goths or punks),” the commission says, adding that it is consulting on making legal amendments for all of the above.

In its paper, published on September 23, the commission makes a series of proposals to reform hate crime laws in England and Wales. In addition to adding sex or gender to the protected characteristics, it suggests expanding the definition of racist chanting at sports games to include homophobic slurs and offensive and dangerous behaviour.

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