Police in London may take steps to make street harassment a hate crime.
The Evening Standard reports that London’s Metropolitan Police has revealed officials are discussing the issue with other police forces in the U.K. Their assessment was prompted by an initiative in the East Midlands, which saw police designate gender-based offenses — like street harassment, verbal aggression and taking photos without permission — as hate crimes.
Hate crimes are defined as violent or hostile offenses that are motivated by prejudice — like racism and homophobia — and can carry severe penalties.
Police officials have said that they are discussing whether cracking down on street harassment might help reduce overall incidences of sexual violence. But assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton of the National Police Chiefs Council also noted that police want to dispel the sense that “sexual harassment of a woman or a girl at a bus stop by a male might be some things that some women … are just going to have to accept, that no one’s going to do anything about it.”
Read the full story at The Evening Standard.