Why wolf-whistling is now considered a hate crime in Nottinghamshire

An end to sexual harassment?

When’s the last time you experienced unwanted sexual attention? Because, let’s face it, you probably have encountered it at some point.

According to a recent YouGov survey commissioned by the End Violence Against Women Coalition, 85% of women aged 18 to 24 have experienced unwanted sexual attention, with 45% experiencing unwanted sexual touching in public.

But hopefully not for much longer in Nottingham at least, thanks to the local police force.

In a bid to tackle sexist abuse in the region, the Nottinghamshire police have become the first force in the country to class misogyny as a hate crime.

As a result, unwanted sexual advances such as wolf-whistling and catcalling can now be reported to Nottinghamshire police.

Misogynistic hate crimes are defined by the force as ‘incidents against women that are motivated by an attitude of a man towards a woman, and includes behaviour targeted towards a woman by men simply because they are a woman’.

Included under this definition are unwanted sexual advances or engagement, unwanted physical contact, verbal abuse, physical assault, uninvited messages from mobile devices and taking photos without consent.

The new procedures have been introduced in partnership with Nottingham Women’s Centre. Melanie Jeffs, the centre’s manager commented: ‘We’re pleased to see Nottinghamshire police recognise the breadth of violence and intimidation that women experience on a daily basis in our communities.’

She continued: ‘Understanding this as a hate crime will help people to see the seriousness of these incidents and hopefully encourage more women to come forward and report offences.’

This follows on from last year when 23-year-old Poppy Smart reported men wolf-whistling at her in the street to the police, leading to a building firm being questioned – the first time wolf-whistling had ever been investigated as a potential crime.

Here’s hoping that now more women will have the confidence to come forward, too. Nottinghamshire Police, we salute you. 

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