Nottingham

Misogyny hate crime: Taxi driver 'offered money for oral sex'

A taxi rank
Image caption A woman reported being so scared she climbed out of a taxi window after the driver asked her for oral sex in return for money

A taxi driver offering a woman money for oral sex is among 30 complaints to a police force since it started recording misogyny as a hate crime.

Nottinghamshire Police said there has been national and global interest since the policy was implemented on 4 April.

One man has been charged with misogyny hate crime so far following an alleged sexually motivated assault.

The force's chief constable, Sue Fish, expects the policy to be implemented nationally by other police forces.

"We've had a huge amount of interest from other parts of the country and I have to say globally, which took us a little by surprise," she said.

"Other places are talking about this and recognising misogyny as a really serious issue."

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Media captionNottinghamshire Chief Constable, Sue Fish, told other police forces how the policy is working at a conference in Nottingham

She said the policy had been misreported and misunderstood.

"It's not criminalising wolf-whistling," she said. "That's absolutely trivialising something that is really far more fundamental than that.

"This is about some gratuitous abuse, both physical and verbal, of women because they are women."

Hate crimes and hate incidents

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There have been 30 complaints to Nottinghamshire Police since the policy was implemented on 4 April.

The law has not changed, and perpetrators can only be charged with crimes if their offences were already against the law.

Anything which is not a criminal offence is recorded as a hate incident with a misogynistic hate crime qualifier.

Of the 30 complaints so far, 11 have been recorded as hate crimes and the other 19 have been recorded as hate incidents.

The crimes reported include:

  • Sexual assault on a female aged 13 years and over
  • Public fear, alarm or distress
  • Racially or religiously aggravated public fear, alarm or distress
  • Possession of 'other' weapons
  • Harassment

The woman who reported being offered money by a taxi driver in exchange for oral sex told police she was so scared she climbed out of the window of the locked vehicle.

Police are treating this as an assault, due to the fear of violence. Nobody has been arrested yet.

While misogynistic behaviour in itself may not be a criminal offence, reporting it means Nottinghamshire Police can investigate and establish whether a crime has taken place.

Even if a criminal offence has not taken place, police have been trained to offer support as they would to any victim of a hate crime.

Other steps can also be taken, such as speaking to the perpetrator about their behaviour, and civil remedies such as injunctions.

Image caption Nottingham Women's Centre manager Melanie Jeffs said women can "walk that little bit taller"

Nottingham Women's Centre put forward the case that misogyny was a missing category under current hate crime definitions, and has been helping to train police.

Centre manager Melanie Jeffs said there have been stories about how people are "going to pack their bags and move over to this British county called Nottinghamshire where misogyny has been made illegal".

"Quite a few women I've spoken to have said that just knowing this exists now in Nottingham means that, when they walk through the city, they feel they can walk that little bit taller because they know the police recognise what happens to them and if something serious happens they can report it and they know how to do that."

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Melanie Jeffs received hundreds of abusive messages on Twitter after she helped launch the police campaign to record misogyny as a hate crime
Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Melanie Jeffs said one person "threatened to put a machete" through the back of her head

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