Meghan Hoyt: “Addressing Misogyny: The Law, Hate Crime and New Feminist Approaches”

In Students by General Account

Violence against women and girls is an urgent contemporary debate in the United Kingdom. Attempts have been made to use hate crime legislation to address the role of misogyny in gender-based violence. This socio-legal research will investigate misogyny as a concept in both feminist theory and the practice of feminist lobby groups, exploring whether hate crime legislation can address it. Hate crime is a complex and contested framework for dealing with prejudice, the benefit of adding gender as a protected characteristic within this structure is not clear. This work will use the emerging practice of feminist legislative drafting to explore more effective legal responses to misogyny, proposing ways legislation can grapple with ingrained social structures that perpetuate violence against women. The research will contribute new empirical data through the use of 20 semi-structured interviews with key feminist lobby groups within the UK’s three distinct legal jurisdictions: England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Informed by qualitative research, the project will investigate how theoretical concepts in feminist legal theory map on to practical understandings of misogyny and hate crime within feminist lobby groups, and then draw on the nascent methodology of feminist legislative drafting to produce a new model. For maximum impact, research findings will be available as a resource to feminist lobby groups engaged throughout the project and could offer recommendations to government. This research will make an original contribution to socio-legal work on hate crime, and the emerging field of feminist legislative drafting.