Published date : 09 Oct 2018



MSP for the Mid Fife and Glenrothes Constituency, Jenny Gilruth, has welcomed news that the Scottish Government is to consult on whether to create a new hate crime of misogyny.


Announced at the SNP’s conference in Glasgow this week by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf MSP, the issue will be raised as part of a consultation on hate crime later this year. 


Following a review of hate crime legislation by Lord Bracadale, the forthcoming consultation will focus on updating and consolidating Scotland's hate crime laws and will include consideration as to what measures may be needed to better tackle gender-based violence, including misogyny.


Commenting, Jenny Gilruth MSP said:


"The Scottish Government is working hard to tackle gender-based prejudice and misogyny in Scotland.


"Through education, legislation and enforcement we can begin to eradicate violence against women and girls while challenging unacceptable attitudes and harmful behaviour in Scotland.


“I believe that targeting misogynistic behaviour as a specific offence could be an effective step in addressing this form of behaviour and the wider damage it does. I look forward to the consultation’s launch in November.”


Heather Williams, Interim-Manager at Fife Women’s Aid has also welcomed the announcement.


Ms Williams said:


“Fife Women’s Aid welcomes the Scottish Governments commitment to reviewing the law to help tackle the harassment experienced by women and girls across Scotland on a daily basis.


“This harassment of women and girls which happens simply because we are female takes place in ours schools, workplaces, streets and homes and this is unacceptable.


While providing protection through new legislation is welcome, just as importantly we need  men who believe this is unacceptable to stand up against it, it’s not enough to say I don’t do it it’s only some men.”  




Lord Bracadale was appointed by the Scottish Government to review hate crime legislation in Scotland and to consider whether existing laws represent the most effective approach for the justice system to deal with criminal conduct motivated by hatred, malice, ill-will or prejudice.  On 31 May Lord Bracadale published his review report and recommendations which included consolidation of hate crime legislation and the addition of gender and age hostility aggravations.


Current hate crime legislation allows any existing offence to be aggravated by prejudice in respect of one or more of the protected characteristics of race, religion, disability, sexual orientation and transgender identity. Where a person is convicted of an offence with a statutory aggravation in respect of a protected characteristic it will be recorded and taken into account in sentencing.  In addition, there are some stand-alone offences too.


A number of organisations have called for the development of a standalone offence for misogyny to tackle the unique features of violence and harassment against women. They take the view that adding a statutory aggregation for gender hostility will not be helpful in tackling misogynistic behaviour.


The Scottish Government has accepted Lord Bracadale's recommendation to consolidate all Scottish hate crime legislation into one new hate crime statute and will use his report and recommendations as the basis for consulting on the detail of what should be included in a new hate crime bill. This will include considering how best to tackle misogyny in Scotland.


The United Nations has defined violence against women as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life."


Read further information about Scottish Government work with partners to tackle violence against women and girls.



Local Reporters, Glenrothes Gazette, Courier (Fife), JUSTICE
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