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Upskirting Is Now Officially A Criminal Offence In England And Wales

Upskirting Is Now Officially A Criminal Offence In England And Wales

Upskirting is now a criminal offence is now a criminal offence, punishable by up to two years in prison, in England and Wales.

The new law comes after an 18-month campaign by Gina Martin, who was a victim of upskirting when she attended British Summer Time Festival in 2017.

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Gina saw a man use his phone to take a photo of her crotch from under her skirt, so she snatched the phone and ran to the police, only to find out that what the man had done wasn't a criminal offence and her case was closed just four days later.

Upskirting - the practice of taking of sexually intrusive photographs under someone's clothing without their permission - is already a crime in Scotland and has been since 2010.

Gina campaigned for upskirting to be a criminal offence. Credit: ITV/This Morning
Gina campaigned for upskirting to be a criminal offence. Credit: ITV/This Morning

Now, it is also illegal in England and Wales, under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 after the private member's bill, introduced by Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse, was passed by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

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Gina was spurred on to campaign to make upskirting illegal after she wrote about her festival experience on Facebook, only to find the same thing had happened to many other women. Soon, an online petition, calling on police to reopen Gina's case received 50,000 signatures.

Before, victims who were upskirted could be pursue legal prosecution through public decency or harassment, but the chances of conviction was hard.

Speaking of her campaign on This Morning in January, Gina said: "I knew it would become illegal because we were legally right, secured Government backing and had the support of good people across the country.

"Regular people can make change. We've done it. We have made upskirting a sexual offence."

Despite admitting the experience had been a "steep learning curve" in how British politics works, Gina said the decision was "politics and society at its best."

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Gina Martin

Topics: News, Life News, Real, politics

Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Junior Journalist at PRETTY52. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the team in 2017. Contact her on emma.rosemurgey@pretty52.com

 

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