Have you suffered sexual harassment? Whatever the circumstances, Beds Police wants to hear from YOU
Bedfordshire Police is asking members of the public to fill in a confidential survey to see if there is a problem with sexual harassment in the county.
The survey is being launched as the Government is currently reviewing whether crimes linked to the harassment of women (misogyny) or men (misandry) should be brought under hate crime laws.
This includes sexual harassment and unwanted advances in public spaces or the workplace.
Deputy Chief Constable Jackie Sebire said: “We want to fully understand what the picture is in Bedfordshire, to see if we need to follow other forces which have already adopted misogyny and misandry as a form of hate crime.
"We are asking members of the public to fill in a confidential survey and tell us openly about their experiences.
“In 2016 Nottinghamshire Police became the first UK police force to identify misogyny as a specific hate crime strand to address the sexual harassment of women, which had been highlighted as an issue, particularly in the city centre.
"The introduction of misogyny received very high profile media coverage. There was inevitably some questioning/criticism within the media, which was characterised along the lines of trivialising the behaviours experienced by women, such as complaints you can no longer wolf whistle at or flirt with women.
"Misogyny or misandry is not about regulating natural interaction between people, it is about addressing sexually aggressive behaviour, which leaves victims feeling intimidated, degraded, humiliated or offended."
Examples from Nottinghamshire included:
> A woman being followed home by a man making aggressive sexual advances and refusing to take no for an answer
> A young girl being shouted at by men making lewd gestures as she walked to school in her uniform
> A woman being groped on the bus
> A runner receiving repeated verbal harassment.
DCC Sebire added: "This has a huge effect on victims who change their behaviour because of the harassment, such as stopping running, walking a certain way, taking a bus or train, or even leaving the house.
“We are also looking into misandry as men can be victims to and often don’t speak out. We want to put a stop to any inappropriate/criminal behaviour to any individual, whether they are male or female, as everyone has the right to live free from fear or harassment.”
To fill out the survey please visit https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/N7985VL.