Ministers to consult on introducing laws against misogyny

Ministers will consult on how the criminal law might be strengthened as part of efforts to tackle misogynistic behaviour, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has announced.

Mr Yousaf said a forthcoming consultation focusing on updating and consolidating Scotland’s hate crime laws will include consideration as to what measures may be needed to better tackle gender-based violence, including misogyny.

He said: “The Scottish government is working with a range of partners - through education, legislation and enforcement - to tackle violence against women and girls, including challenging unacceptable attitudes and harmful behaviour.

“We must guard against a pervasive misogyny which, unchecked, impacts on the wider health, wellbeing and safety of our communities - breeding a culture where this type of harm is tolerated - sometimes even condoned - and as a result is allowed to continue.

“So there is a clear need for continued action to be taken to tackle gender-based prejudice and misogyny in Scotland, although there are different views on the specific actions needed.

“We will be consulting later this year on Lord Bracadale’s recommendations for necessary reform to Scotland’s hate crime legislation. We will keep an open mind on the best way to address behaviour motivated by misogyny, including the possibility of new criminal law measures.

“The consultation will be launched in November and will seek views on a number of options, including an aggravation based on gender hostility as proposed by Lord Bracadale. But we will also ask whether, separately, a specific offence targeting misogynistic behaviour could be an effective step in addressing this form of behaviour and the damage it does.”