Actions like upskirting, catcalling, flashing or groping have firmly entered the vocabulary of contemporary British society. With an overwhelming number of people, mostly women, in the UK reporting that they are regularly harassed on the street, in nightclubs or while enjoying a run in the park or outdoor climbing, Nottinghamshire Police have piloted an initiative that records misogynistic incidents as hate crime. Recording the incidents since 2016, the force defines misogyny as "incidents against women that are motivated by the attitude of men towards women and includes behaviour targeted at women by men simply because they are women" (BBC East Midlands 2018). Pioneered and long campaigned for by civil society groups in Nottingham, namely Citizens UK and the Nottingham’s Women Centre, this initiative has received both a lot of praise and criticism (Trickett and Mullany 2018). Recently, the Law Commission has started its revision into change in hate crime legislation, following Labour MP Stella Creasy’s call to change the Voyeurism Bill. Creasy has proposed that this change would allow judges to take into account whether misogyny should be treated as aggravating factor in sentencing. Furthermore, it has been argued that this review sends a strong message and positive signal to victims of misogynistic acts.
Seeking to change attitudes, misogyny is to be no longer perceived as a part of everyday life for women, and the Hate Crime Initiative demonstrates how the clear message that such actions will not be tolerated, and will be tackled by government, can be sent by both men and women. Rolling out Nottinghamshire Police pilot nationwide would certainly represent a step into a right direction according to proponents of the reviewed law. At the same time, the initiative has its vocal critics. Recently, the head of Scotland Yard, Cressida Dick, publicly denounced the policy, calling it outside of the merit of “core policing” (Quinn 2018). Despite the overwhelming public support that the Nottinghamshire pilot received, Dick argues that dealing with misogyny should not be the job of the police and it is not appropriate for it to focus on it at the expense of other crimes, such as tackling violent crime and burglary. These comments have been described by Sue Fish as shameful, reinforcing the notion that women are not worthy of service from the police. The controversy around this project, together with its ground-breaking potential for women’s rights, is undoubtedly a topic worth of advanced feminist academic inquiry.
It is envisaged that this project will engage with the variety of stakeholders and map the development of the misogyny hate crime policy and discussion. Given the relative novelty of the local Nottinghamshire initiative and uncertain future of this being rolled nation-wide, there is a little research linking this particular initiative to wider body of work on feminist theory and securitisation of women’s rights.
The aims of the research are:
To investigate the development of the misogyny hate crime initiative from its local to nation-wide and potentially global reach;
To critically assess this particular initiative in relation to feminist theories, activism, and local/regional/global women’s rights initiatives;
To critically evaluate the reception and effectiveness of the initiative among various stakeholders (general population, civil society, charities and non-governmental organisations, academia, police, etc).
The nature of the research is such that either quantitative or qualitative methods, or a combination of approaches, will be possible. It is expected that the applicant will develop a research design that is well-matched to the project aim.
This project is rather significant as it closely relates to initiative that was championed and is practiced in Nottinghamshire. A number of local charities continue to lobby for the policy, as does the supervisory team and their wider network of contacts, including Nottingham Women’s Centre and Nottinghamshire Police. From this perspective, NTU and the given supervisory team are ideally placed to supervise this research.
The successful candidate will be expected to work with variety of stakeholders and across disciplines, developing competitive and novel theoretical and empirical analysis of the proposed topic. They will also be encouraged to present their research to academic and non-academic audiences in different forms. The successful candidate will be joining an exciting research culture and a community of over 130 doctoral students.
Entrants must have a first/undergraduate Honours degree, with an Upper Second Class or a First Class grade, in Politics, International Relations, Gender Studies, Criminology, Politicing, Sociology, Anthropology or a related discipline.
Entrants with a Lower Second Class grade at first degree must also have a postgraduate Masters Degree at Merit or Commendation.
Trickett, L., Mullany, L. 2018. Misogyny Hate Crime Evaluation Report. Nottingham Women’s Centre. Available at: http://www.nottinghamwomenscentre.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Misogyny-Hate-Crime-Evaluation-Report-June-2018.pdf.
Young, T. & Trickett, L. 2017. Girls, Agency, Sexual identity and victimisation ‘on road’ in M. Worley (ed) Youth Culture and Social Change: Making a difference by making a noise, London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Trickett, L., 2016. Birds and sluts: Views on young women from boys in the gang. International Review of Victimology, 22(1), pp.25-44.
Trickett, L. 2014. Reflections on gendered masculine identities in targeted violence against ethnic minorities, in The International Handbook of Hate Crime, Nathan Hall et al, (eds) Abingdon: Routledge.
Hamilton, P., and Trickett, L. 2014. 'Disability Violence, Harassment and Hostility: An Offender's Perspective', in The International Handbook of Hate Crime, Nathan Hall et al, (eds) Abingdon: Routledge.