A campaign headed up by two graduates from the University of Manchester has helped lead to changes in the way hate crimes are recorded.
Jess Bostock and Sylvie Pope – who have been campaigning for nearly three years – have been celebrating their achievements, as the UK government last week announced that it will ask the police to record crimes motivated by a person’s sex or gender.
Following the tragic death of Sarah Everard, Home Office Minister, Baroness Williams, last Wednesday declared that all police forces in England and Wales will be asked to record crimes caused by hostility based on sex or gender from autumn onwards, and this change is taking place while the government awaits the outcomes of the Law Commissions review of hate crime legislation.
For Jess and Sylvie, this is a major step forward, as it brings them closer to their goal of ensuring that misogyny is classed as a hate crime, which will help to tackle male violence against women.
Having experienced unwanted sexual advances and everyday sexism herself, Sylvie Pope started the campaign to make misogyny a hate crime as leader of Greater Manchester Citizens Women’s Action Group back in 2018 – while still a Social Sciences student at The University of Manchester – and was inspired to take action after hearing about Nottingham Citizens, a group who had successfully campaigned to see Nottinghamshire Police become the first police force in the UK to record misogyny as a hate crime.
The pair then brought together women from across Greater Manchester’s communities to form an alliance as part of Greater Manchester Citizens.
They then launched the Misogyny IS Hate campaign.
Since forming, the team have campaigned relentlessly, running a series of action events, conducting research into misogyny in Greater Manchester, meeting with decision makers and sharing experiences of harassment, violence and hate.
Not only was their campaigning instrumental to the Law Commission’s review of hate crime legislation last week, but in 2020, following a number of consultations, the campaign gained the backing of Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, who has recorded misogyny hate crime as a key policy in the ‘The Greater Manchester Strategy to Tackle Violence Against Women and Girls’.
“We are absolutely thrilled that women have been listened to, and that misogynistic crimes will be recorded.” Jess Bostock said.
“Women from Greater Manchester and The University of Manchester have been campaigning around these issues for years [as] recording misogynistic hate crimes is a simple, yet necessary, step to better understand and map women’s experiences and ultimately to tackle misogyny and male violence against women.
“By mapping every woman’s story or report of a hate incident, we can pre-empt patterns of abuse and redistribute funding to vital community services.
“Tackling misogyny requires community-led solutions.
“Recording where men are committing violence against women is just the start and there is so much more to be done.”
Sylvie Pope added: “I chose to study in Manchester because it was the Suffragette City.
“At the beginning of this campaign, I sat in a boardroom across from Mayor Andy Burnham and told him my story of misogyny [and] I’m incredibly proud of the hundreds of women who have since joined our campaign across Manchester and bravely told their stories.
“It’s a relief to hear that we’ve finally been listened to, and that this law change will impact millions of women and girls in our city as well as across the country”.
Featured Image Credit – Twitter (@MisogynyIsHate)