UK Government Reportedly Considering Criminalising Public Sexual Harassment of Women

© AFP 2023 / POOL/PAUL HACKETTWormwood Scrubs Prison in west London
Wormwood Scrubs Prison in west London - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.12.2021
In October, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel stated that police must not treat flashing and harassment of women as "low level" crime. The statement came after ex-police officer Wayne Couzens received a life sentence for the kidnap, rape, and murder of London woman Sarah Everard.
The UK government may outlaw catcalling and making lewd comments toward women in pubs or on the street, The Telegraph has revealed.

The newspaper cited an unnamed Whitehall source as saying that the Law Commission "will call for a public sexual harassment offence, which doesn't currently exist".

"It thinks this fits with other work the government is doing on criminalising intimate image abuse and will be more productive and better in protecting women", the insider added.
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According to the source, the Law Commission will recommend making "inciting hatred against women" a criminal offence, but will stop short of making misogyny a hate crime because it is allegedly ineffective when it comes to sentencing offenders.

Feminist campaigner Nimco Ali, who advises the government on violence against women, likened the potential new legislation to "seatbelt laws", adding that the document is essential to change "social norms".

This comes after British Home Secretary Priti Patel told The Telegraph that "[…] there is something so corrosive in society if people think that it's OK to harass women verbally, physically, and in an abusive way on the street and all that kind of stuff".

"I want women to have the confidence to call it out. I don't see all of this as low level. I don't want to see postcode lotteries around the country", she stressed, adding, "this is a very clear message to police to raise the bar: treat everybody in the right way. Make sure that when these crimes or concerns are reported, people are treated with respect, dignity, and seriously".

She spoke shortly after Wayne Couzens, a British police officer who killed London woman Sarah Everard, was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Wayne Couzens (pink) and Sarah Everard (yellow) caught on camera - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.10.2021
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On 3 March, Couzens forced the 33-year-old to get into his car as she walked home from a friend's house in south London.
He used his police identification and handcuffs to deceive Everard, claiming she had been arrested for violating COVID lockdown rules. Then he raped and strangled his victim with his police belt.
Her body was later found 80 miles (128 kilometres) away, burned and dumped in a pond in the woods in Kent.
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