It Happens Here is a Newcastle University society that works to support victims of sexual violence and campaigns to make Newcastle a safer place for them.
The letter explains how the society’s interviews, conducted as part of this campaign, bring light to a variety of ways in which local citizens have experienced prejudice and hate because they are women. It urges Northumbria Police to be ‘ahead of the curve’ as the Law Commission plan to ask the UK government to classify misogyny as a hate crime nationally.
This petition follows the Law Commission's consultation paper recommending this change in the law which, notably, draws on evidence from their 2019 visit to Newcastle in which they heard testimonies about hate crime including Islamophobia and misogyny.
The letter also calls for the misogyny within already existing hate crimes, such as Islamophobia, to be recognised. Reports taken from the Law Commission’s consultation paper describe women of colour being called ‘exotic’ by men in the street, and Muslim women being forced remove their niqab. The letter goes on to say, ‘Making misogyny a hate crime would allow for full recognition of the issues that are faced by these members of our community, as would recording intersectional hate crime.’
It Happens Here Newcastle said they wrote the letter following extensive discussions with local citizens and with NUSU. Following these, they felt a letter was the most accessible format to publicise their campaign message, asking for misogyny to be made a hate crime. They also wanted to make it local, since Newcastle was one of the places the Law Commission came to hold a focus group.