Developing

International Women's Day: Wolf-whistling 'to be made illegal'

By Ian Dunt

Wolf-whistling will technically be made illegal under European laws set to be signed by David Cameron today.

The prime minister chose International Women's Day to sign a Council of Europe convention promising "necessary legislative measures” against anyone committing “verbal, non-verbal or physical sexual harassment”.

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The convention outlaws anything which violates "the dignity of a person, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment”.

Many women's groups welcomed the move but there was concern the law will criminalise less serious behaviour, such as wolf-whistling and flirtation.

The convention has already been signed by 18 other countries, including Germany, France Spain, Norway, Sweden and Finland.

It would allow people who rape or seriously harm women to be prosecuted in this country if charges are not brought abroad – something currently only possible for murder and child abuse.

It also carries sections related to female genital mutilation, forced marriage and forced abortions.

The government is also introducing a separate law against stalking today.