A new crime targeting sexist behaviour could be introduced in Scotland as part of a drive to crack down on “ingrained” levels of misogyny across the country, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf told delegates at the SNP conference yesterday.
Women’s rights campaigners have expressed concern over “epidemic” levels of misogyny online and in workplaces amid the emergence of the #MeToo movement over the past year.
A recent report by retired judge Lord Bracadale on hate crime stopped short of backing a standalone crime but called for a new aggravation of misogyny added to current hate crime. But it met with an angry response from Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid, who want a specific crime introduced.
Mr Yousaf said: “Hatred isn’t directed only to minorities – ask any woman that.
“To my fellow men in the audience, we have to stand up and be counted in the fight against misogyny.
“To every single man here and every single man listening, we have to be allies in the fight against misogyny and in the fight for equality. It is undoubtedly a fight for all of us. If we are simply passive then we are just part of the problem and I very much hope to be a part of the solution as the justice secretary.
“Misogyny is so ingrained, so normalised within our society, so structural within our institutions it needs some radical action to tackle it.
“Conference, I can therefore confirm in our consultation on hate crime I will ask a specific question on whether to make hate motivated by misogynistic harassment an offence, just as hatred based on religion and race is.”