CHESHIRE police and crime commissioner David Keane is calling for sexism and abuse of the elderly to be recognised as a hate crime by law.

Existing hate crime legislation does not cover gender or age, but the PCC says that there is ‘clear evidence’ that this should be the case.

He said: “We know that gender discrimination disproportionately affects women.

“There is evidence of this in the workplace, online and in everyday life – there is also evidence of misogyny leading to other serious crimes such as stalking or harassment.

“Research by Citizens UK revealed that women are three times more likely to experience both threats and acts of sexual violence and assault than men, and that 38 per cent of women reporting hate crime explicitly linked this to gender.

“Some police forces are already recording misogyny as a hate crime, so it makes sense that it’s enshrined in law.

“In Cheshire, I have asked chief constable Darren Martland to explore issues linked to domestic and sexual abuse and hate crime and to prioritise a review of recording of misogyny as a hate crime locally as an interim measure before any potential legislative changes as a result of this consultation.

“I believe that, if misogyny was set out in law as a hate crime, this would give women the confidence and faith in reporting harassment or any other behaviour that leaves them feeling intimidated, uncomfortable or threatened.”

Meanwhile, older residents are particularly targeted in certain types of crime due to their age or vulnerability.

Mr Keane added: “There are certain crimes which disproportionately affect older people, including abuse committed by a loved one or carer, cybercrime or theft from a residential dwelling.

“Crime reporting in the over 75s and 65 to 74-year-olds age groups is relatively low compared to other age categories, but there is evidence that there is a reluctance amongst older people to report crime.

“Given the average life expectancy in the UK continues to increase, we can only expect crimes against older people to increase and a new category specifically recognising older people as victims of hate crime can only build confidence in reporting crimes which disproportionately affect them.”