Hate crime laws may be updated to include misogyny and goth-hatred, and Labour MP Stella Creasy has welcomed the potential changes.
The law commission will look at areas that aren't currently covered by hate crime law, and will also take misandry (hatred of men) and ageism into account.
- Read more: MPs to vote on proposal to make misogyny a hate crime
- Read more: Recorded hate crime increases by 17%
Speaking with Matthew Wright and Kevin O’Sullivan on talkRADIO, she said co-host Kevin O’Sullivan had “completely misunderstood the nature of hate crime” after he said it was “closing down on freedom of speech”.
“The point about hate crime is the basic respect people have in life,” said Ms Creasy.
'Recognise where hate is motivating people'
“Why should somebody live in fear because of who they are, because of their sexual orientation, because of their gender, their race or religion?
“What we’re talking about is recognising where hostility towards a basic characteristic of [who someone is] has been a motivating factor in that crime, that should be acknowledged and addressed.
She added: “I’m sure none of us want to live in a world where simply being black, being gay, or being Muslim lives in fear.”
Wright responded that “we have existing laws”, and Ms Creasy pointed out that there isn’t always “recognition of where that hate is motivating people”.
'Positive impact' of police force making wolf-whistling a hate crime
She drew a comparison between laws protecting women in the workplace, but not once they step out into the street.
“As a woman, I have protection in the workplace from being discriminated against, but when I walk out on the street I don’t have protection from being sexually harassed,” she said.
“We know that half of all women experience that on a daily basis. And we know that women are changing their behaviour rather than the people doing it stopping it.”
Responding to Wright’s suggestion that “some women not only don’t mind being wolf-whistled at, but positively enjoy it”, Ms Creasy said there was nothing romantic about that behaviour.
“Well, let’s break that down, because the evidence we’ve had from Nottinghamshire [Police, who made wolf-whistling a hate crime two years ago] has been of the positive impact that the police and local women have experienced,” she said.
“It’s not about wolf whistling, it’s about harassment. Have you ever met a couple who says, ‘we met because he followed me down the street in a car and that’s the most romantic proposition I’ve ever had?’
“We all know that someone who harasses women, it’s not evidence of their love and affection, it’s about control. I’d be very worried about someone who behaved in those ways and what they might go on to do… In a modern, free and equal society, you shouldn’t do these things.”