'Upskirting' Is Now A Specific Crime And Offenders Face Up To Two Years In Prison
'Upskirting' perpetrators will now face two years in prison and being placed on the sex offenders register, as a new law making the act a specific criminal offence received Royal Assent today.
'Upskirting' typically involves offenders taking a picture under a person's clothing without them knowing, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks. The new law will ban the degrading practice to deter perpetrators, better protect victims, and bring more offenders to justice.
The move follows tireless efforts by campaigners, victims, charities, ministers and MPs to close a small gap in the law. The issue was first brought to the public's attention by the unwavering campaign of Gina Martin, after two men took a picture up her skirt at a festival.
"Very pleased to see the degrading practice of upskirting become a criminal offence after the tireless work of victims and campaigners." - PM @Theresa_May #UpskirtingLaw pic.twitter.com/koYif0LlST
- UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) February 12, 2019
Gina Martin, 25, was at a music festival in Hyde Park, London, when she caught a man looking at a photo taken up a woman's skirt. When she looked closer, she noticed that it was in fact her in the picture.
She has been behind a lengthy campaign and said: "After 18 months of tireless work, today we've finally done it. As the Queen formally agrees to make our bill into an Act of Parliament, we should see this campaign as not only essential legislative change, but also proof that normal people and grassroots campaigning can make a real difference.
"It's a reminder to, instead of saying 'someone should do something about this', be that someone.
"By the end of the day upskirting will be a specific sexual offence and within a few months our law will be useable. It has been a long time coming but we are finally protected in every scenario - as we should always have been."
Justice Minister Lucy Frazer said: "Those who commit such a degrading act will face prison, and victims' complaints will be dealt with seriously.
"Gina Martin and other victims, charities and MPs supporting her should be immensely proud. Her efforts show how one campaigner can work with government to change the law for everyone."
The Ministry of Justice have published information about upskirting - the highly intrusive practice that can take place in a range of places for example on public transport.
The new law will capture instances where the purpose of the behaviour is to obtain sexual gratification, or to cause humiliation, distress or alarm.
Anyone, and any gender, can be a victim and the MoJ say that this behaviour is completely unacceptable.
Featured Image Credit: Ministry of Justice