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Public to be consulted on plans to criminalise misogyny in Scotland

The Scottish Government has announced plans to develop draft legislative provisions which will be put to the public for consultation (Ian West/PA)
The Scottish Government has announced plans to develop draft legislative provisions which will be put to the public for consultation (Ian West/PA)

The Scottish Government has launched a public consultation on plans to criminalise misogyny.

The legislative plans follow a report by experts which called for legislation to be introduced that would create a new statutory aggravation of misogyny.

Chaired by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, the independent working group on misogyny report, Misogyny – A Human Rights Issue, called for the new offences to be implemented as part of “radical and transformative” legal reforms to protect women from abuse.

The report recommended the creation of new criminal law provisions against crime such as assault, criminal damage or threatening or abusive behaviour which is aggravated by misogyny.

And it includes the criminalising of stirring up hatred against women, issuing threats of, or invoking rape or sexual assault or disfigurement of women and girls online and offline.

Accepting the recommendations set out by the group, the Scottish Government has announced plans to develop draft legislative provisions which will be put to the public for consultation.

Keith Brown, Justice Secretary, said: “The independent report rightly recognises the need to address misogyny and makes a compelling case for creating new laws to tackle this unacceptable conduct.

“The Scottish Government response outlines how we intend to make progress on the blueprint for legislation contained within the report by bringing forward a bill to the Scottish Parliament.

Scottish Parliament
Justice Secretary Keith Brown welcomed the move (Fraser Bremner/Daily Mail/PA)

“With such a substantial and significant report, it will take time to work through the recommendations in discussion with key partners, but we are confident the resulting legislation will help send a clear message that male attitudes which emanate from prejudice and misogyny have no place in a modern and equal Scotland.”

Following the report’s publication, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon backed the “ground-breaking” proposals, in which she said current laws are “failing women”.

The report also highlighted that experiencing misogynistic behaviour is a routine experience of women and girls in Scotland and the experiences of LGBTI+ and minority ethnic women tend to be even worse.