The public is to be asked about proposed new laws to criminalise hateful behaviour towards women.
It comes after a panel of experts found Scotland needed legislation to tackle misogyny to protect women from abuse.
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC’s report found hate of women is “so deeply rooted in our patriarchal ecosystem” that it “requires a more fundamental set of responses”.
On Thursday, the Scottish Government announced a consultation on the introduction of new criminal offences including stirring up hatred against and public sexual harassment of women.
What will the new crimes be?
- a new statutory aggravation to relate to misogynistic conduct where a crime such as assault, criminal damage/vandalism or threatening or abusive behaviour is aggravated by misogyny
- a new offence of Stirring Up Hatred Against Women
- a new offence of Public Sexual Harassment of Women
- a new offence of Issuing Threats of, or Invoking, Rape or Sexual Assault or Disfigurement of Women and Girls online and offline
Keith Brown, justice secretary, said he hoped new legislation will send “a clear message that male attitudes which emanate from prejudice and misogyny have no place in a modern and equal Scotland”.
“The independent report rightly recognises the need to address misogyny and makes a compelling case for creating new laws to tackle this unacceptable conduct,” he said.
“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.”
New criminal laws recommended by Baroness Kennedy’s report include a misogynistic conduct aggravation where a crime such as assault, criminal damage/vandalism or threatening or abusive behaviour is aggravated by hate of women.
Another is for the creation of a new offence of issuing threats of, or invoking, rape or sexual assault or disfigurement of women and girls online and offline.
Because of the size of Baroness Kennedy’s report, Brown said it would take time to develop the draft laws in discussion with “key partners”.
The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill creates a criminal offence of stirring up hatred against protected groups, expanding on a similar offence based on race that has been on the statute books for decades.
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