Harassment and violence against women because of their gender should be regarded as a hate crime, Liberal Democrat deputy leader Jo Swinson has said.
Currently police record incidents as potential hate crimes if they are reported to have been motivated by hostility or prejudice relating to race, disability, religion, transgender identity or sexual orientation.
Classification of an offence as a hate crime relating to one of these “protected characteristics” can result in tougher sentences if the defendant is found guilty in court.
Ms Swinson said that she would back a change to make misogyny a hate crime, potentially leading to longer sentences for offenders motivated by prejudice against women.
She told BBC Two’s Victoria Derbyshire programme: “Most women have experienced some kind of harassment in their daily life at some point.
“This is not acceptable, this is not okay.
“This isn’t about making a new crime, it is a hate crime definition that allows for information gathering, it encourages reporting, and means the police can have more intelligence about where misogyny is happening and when it increases.
“There is a real problem with violence against women and this would help give people the confidence to report it.”