Upskirting to be criminalized in England and Wales

It's not yet illegal to take a photo underneath a woman's skirt without her permission in the UK, but that's about to change.

Lydia Morrish
Lydia Morrish NewsMavens, United Kingdom
Upskirting to be criminalized in England and Wales - NewsMavens
Man in hoodie, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

"If women assumed some responsibility for their attire, they would not be in jeopardy." That's what a self-proclaimed high-profile lawyer from Britain said during a very public row about "upskirting", the intrusive and demeaning practice of taking a photo underneath somebody's clothes, usually up a woman's or girl's skirt.

But this isn't about what women wear.

Campaigns to make upskirting illegal in England and Wales (it's already banned in Scotland) have been going on for at least a year, with activist Gina Martin leading the way.

She had a photo taken underneath her skirt at a music festival in London's Hyde Park in 2017, spurring her to try and outlaw the act.

She believes taking photos underneath a person’s clothing should be made a criminal sexual offence because the act is exploitative and degrading just like other sexual crimes. But with slow progress, and an MP blocking a bill to ban it from going forward in parliament, there has been push-back.

A government bill to make it illegal eventually got through parliament on June 21, and it's set to become law within months.

This is a huge achievement for women and a symbol that they should be legally protected to wear what they want without being exploited. The only people in jeopardy should be those who think it's okay to take a photo of someone's underwear without their consent.

Details from the story:

  • "Upskirting" is to be made illegal in England and Wales after pushback and an MP voting against the bill.
  • The campaign to make the practice illegal has received national and international attention.
  • While revenge porn was outlawed in 2015, police charge only around 7% of suspects.

Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
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