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
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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.
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