ITV News Central Reporter Rosie Dowsing speaks to women out in Birmingham's busy Broad Street about whether making misogyny a hate crime would make them feel safer
There are renewed calls to make misogyny and street harassment towards women a hate crime, as part of National Hate Crime Awareness week.
While shouting abuse at someone about the colour of their skin, their religion, their disability or their sexual orientation is defined by police as a hate crime, catcalling or sneering at women is not.
Women out and about in Birmingham last night told ITV News that despite street lighting and police patrols, they won't feel safe until misogynistic behaviour is made a criminal offence.
While some women in queues for Broad Street's bars told of being followed home, catcalled, or groped, another group of women said they take it in turns to walk each other alone.
"Recording misogyny as a hate crime would help women have more trust in the police"
Cllr Nicky Brennan is the first Victims Commissioner appointed for the West Midlands.
She says making misogyny a hate crime would highlight to women that they have the support of the police and allow forces to better collect information around the scale of the problem.
"It doesn't matter what I'm wearing, or who I'm with, I get catcalled. It's hard going out in Birmingham some times."
Acacia Matthews is a student at the University of Birmingham, and heads up Reclaim Campus - a group set up in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard to campaign for the safety of staff and students there.
She has been working with the university and police regarding street lighting and other campaigns such as methods to stop drink spiking.
Now the group is calling for compulsory consent courses for all students and staff, saying education is the only real long term solution.
"It will be really clear, what's allowed, and what isn't", says Acacia.
In response, West Midlands Police said:
"We’re not currently recording misogyny or gender-based hostility as a hate crime."The Home Office has asked police forces, on an experimental basis, to record and identify any crimes of violence against the person including stalking and harassment and sexual offences, where the victim perceives it to have been motivated by a hostility based on their sex."We are waiting for further guidance from the Home Office on how this recording should be done, although in preparation we have already actively examined how we could achieve this. We are also waiting for the government’s response to the upcoming Law Commission Review, which is considering including misogyny as a hate crime."