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British MP calls for wolf whistles and cat-calls to be hate crimes

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British MP calls for wolf whistles and cat-calls to be hate crimes

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A British member of parliament was expected to use a debate on Wednesday to push for tougher laws on sexual harassment by recording acts such as wolf-whistling and cat-calling as hate crimes.

Labour's Melanie Onn, the MP for Great Grimsby, reportedly believes that such a qualification can encourage more women to come forward and report abuse.

Acts such as physical intimidation in public places and online abuse based on gender could also be covered by a new legal definition.

“These things might be considered ‘banter’ or flirtatious but, if they are received as unwelcome in the way it is delivered, then it can be tantamount to harassment, even in a one-off case,” Onn was quoted by The Sun as saying.

The lawmaker – also an opposition spokeswoman on housing – claims that catcallers often continue to carry out more serious crimes against women, the paper said.

Melanie Onn’s proposals drew an outraged response from social media users. Some dubbed them as "frivolous", while others questioned if catcalling would be considered a hate crime if directed at men.