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A Police Force in Britain Has Just Made Wolf-Whistling a Hate Crime

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Wolf-whistling in some parts of the U.K. could now be considered a criminal offense after a police force in the English Midlands said it was recognizing misogyny as a hate crime in hope of encouraging more women to report incidents including verbal assaults and the sending of unwanted phone messages.

A Nottinghamshire Police statement issued Wednesday says the force will prosecute as hate crimes incidents against women motivated by a man’s attitudes toward women. “Examples of this may include unwanted or uninvited sexual advances; physical or verbal assault; unwanted or uninvited physical or verbal contact or engagement; use of mobile devices to send unwanted or uninvited messages or take photographs without consent or permission,” it says.

The Guardian reports that the definition would include men wolf-whistling at a woman. A complaint from a woman elsewhere in England last year led to a building firm being investigated for sexual harassment by its workers.

Chief Constable Sue Fish encouraged women to report misogynistic acts. “What women face, often on a daily basis, is absolutely unacceptable and can be extremely distressing,” she says in the statement.

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Write to Simon Lewis at simon_daniel.lewis@timeasia.com