Meet the woman on mission to stamp out misogyny and hate in UK police forces


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The issues surrounding misogyny in the police have been much discussed since the tragic kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard last year at the hands of evil police officer Wayne Couzens

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Boris Johnson refuses to make misogyny a hate crime

Chartered psychologist Dr Jessica Taylor has been tasked with a huge mission – to stamp misogyny out of companies and organizations in the UK.

The 31-year-old, from Manchester, runs a successful research consultancy and training company and her services have never been in greater demand.

So much so that Dr Taylor’s VictimFocus is currently working with 13 police forces across the country.

The issues surrounding misogyny in the police have been much discussed since the tragic kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard at the hands of evil police officer Wayne Couzens.

Couzens was a serving officer at the Metropolitan Police when he used Covid laws to lure the 33-year-old marketing executive into his car in March last year.

His murderous actions also lifted the lid on a culture of misogyny in the force which was further exacerbated by a scathing report into the sexist and racist attitudes of officers at Charing Cross Police station.

Fourteen officers at the station were investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, and two were found to have a case to answer for gross misconduct – one of whom resigned and one was sacked.

In the wake of Ms Everard’s murder, a review of culture and standards in the Met is currently being carried out by Baroness Casey.

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Dr Jessica Taylor has been tasked with a huge mission
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Dr Jessica Taylor)







Dr Taylor has published a new book on misogyny
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Dr Jessica Taylor)

One of the biggest issues some police forces face is learning to believe accusations made by women, Dr Taylor said.

“If a woman says she’s being sexually harassed it needs to be addressed appropriately.

“There are police forces in which there are teams who believe women lie about being raped, or believe that women need to protect themselves better.’

“We are challenging a lot of things in police forces. It’s an in-depth and comprehensive thing to do.

“One thing I can say with certainty, is that the forces we are working with are committed to change, and are open and reflective. They are not defensive about challenging misogyny, as some others can be.”







He was given a life sentence in September 2021
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Dr Taylor told The Mirror: “The problem of misogyny has always been there but it is now being discussed more openly because of Sarah Everard’s tragic murder.

“Police forces are sitting up and taking notice which is a new thing.

“Misogyny isn’t just a problem in police forces, it’s replicated in society – the general public are misogynistic, and so that is reflected in each police force.

“But the difference is police forces have the power to change your life. If a charity is misogynistic it won’t necessarily alter your life in the way a police force can. In some incidents, the presence of misogyny can be a matter of life or death.”

The first thing Victim Focus will do when it is commissioned to tackle misogyny is to enter the workplace and carry out an audit which may include carrying out anonymous consultation.

The information is then assessed by Dr Taylor and her team to tailor the work which will be needed.

“The first thing we have to do is get people to believe misogyny is real,” Dr Taylor said.

“We often come across people who believe it does not exist as ‘women are equal and sexism is a feminist conspiracy’

“You can’t move forward if people won’t believe it. Senior leadership must be on board and must accept there is institutional misogyny.

“So for instance, some police officers of different ranks become uncomfortable if you say ‘the majority of sex perpetrators are male’ and deflect by saying ‘women are perpetrators too’, so it really needs to be led from the top down to the bottom .”







Sarah Everard was kidnapped and murdered by Couzens
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Once Dr Taylor gets the top bosses on board her company will also highlight other issues such as whistleblowing failures.

She said: “There can be an anti-whistle-blowing culture where women who come forward are disciplined, harassed and seen as ‘a grass’.

“Police are telling people to come forward to help them solve crimes but female officers will say they wouldn’t come forward themselves.

‘Police forces need to put their money where their mouth is.’

But Dr Taylor is not just focusing on police forces, her five-year-old company is also working with other organizations including corporate businesses and even NHS health trusts.

She has also worked with victims of domestic violence and sex abuse for more than a decade and has documented women’s experiences of misogyny in a new book which has been released this month.

‘Sexy but Psycho’ explains how women’s trauma is used as a weapon against them by men, the criminal justice system and misogynistic policies, rules and decisions.

Dr Taylor said: “I’ve wanted to write it for years because I have worked around victims for 12 years.

“Victims are often referred to a mental health team and given a diagnosis of having a mental disorder which is then used to make them look untrustworthy, unstable and unreliable.

“We’ve created an entire system that is misogynistic. Not just in the police but everywhere, including the NHS.

“Women and girls are seven times more likely to be diagnosed with borderline personality disorders than men.

“VictimFocus is being commissioned by NHS trusts to provide an anti-pathologising, anti-victim blaming trauma service for girls who have been raped to see if that results in a better outcome for girls.

“I want my book to cause chaos. It needs to cause chaos and debate.

“It’s time for misogyny to be taken seriously.”

Dr Jessica Taylor’s book ‘Sexy but Psycho’ is out now and can be bought in bookshops and online.

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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