Posted: Fri 12th Apr 2019

Upskirting offenders can be jailed as of today as a new law comes into force

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Apr 12th, 2019

So-called ‘upskirting’  becomes a specific criminal offence in Wales and England today. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Offenders can now be arrested and sent to prison as a new law banning the invasive practice comes into force across England and Wales. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The criminal offence of ‘upskirting’ was created under the Voyeurism Act when it received Royal Assent in February. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Police and prosecutors have now updated their guidance to ensure the law is properly enforced – with offenders facing up to 2 years in jail and being placed on the sex offenders register. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Today marks the culmination of tireless campaigning from Gina Martin and other victims, MPs and charities who worked closely with Ministers to create the new law and protect more victims. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Justice Minister Lucy Frazer said: ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

We have always been clear – there are no excuses for this behaviour and offenders should feel the full force of the law. From today, they will. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

By taking decisive action and working closely with Gina Martin and other campaigners, we have ensured more people are protected from this degrading and humiliating practice. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Gina Martin said: ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Today, the Voyeurism Act comes into effect and I’m so happy. Finally we have a fit-for-purpose law that protects against every instance of upskirting – as we should have always had. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

But this is just the beginning. Please raise your voice and report if you are a victim or if you see someone become one – every report builds a picture so we can stop upskirting. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The practice typically involves taking a picture under a person’s clothing without them knowing, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

A pensioner and schoolchildren as young as seven were among the growing number of upskirting victims last year, new police figures show. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Data obtained by the Press Association shows victims were targeted in shops, while at work, in the street and even at school during 2018, with only a handful of cases resulting in a criminal charge. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The government intervened last June to bring forward measures to tackle this behaviour, after a Private Members Bill did not pass its second reading. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

To date, the behaviour has been successfully prosecuted under the offence of Outraging Public Decency. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

However, following concerns raised by victims that not all instances of ‘upskirting’ were covered by current law, the government acted to create a new, specific offence. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The Voyeurism Act outlaws ‘upskirting’ where the purpose is to obtain sexual gratification, or to cause humiliation, distress or alarm. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

This includes instances where culprits say images were just taken ‘for a laugh’ or when paparazzi are caught taking intrusive images. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

It creates 2 new offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. The changes will cover England and Wales; ‘upskirting’ is already a specific offence in Scotland. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


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