Police receive almost one upskirt allegation per day since new law

The law came into force in April 2019

Friday, January 10, 2020

Schoolchildren were among alleged victims who contacted police in England and Wales in the six months since the creation of the new upskirting law, an investigation has found.

The first figures on the impact of the Voyeurism (Offences) Act also show that almost one victim a day has contacted police since its introduction in April 2019.

Data from 35 police forces found there had been 153 incidents reported to them in the 182 days since the law was created.

Upskirting often sees a perpetrator use a recording device such as a camera phone to take explicit images underneath a victim's clothing, without permission and often undetected.

A conviction at the Magistrates’ Court carries a sentence of up to one year in prison and/or a fine while a more serious offence tried in the Crown Court could see a sentence of up to two years behind bars.

The Voyeurism Act also allows upskirting to be treated as a sexual offence and ensure that the most serious offenders are placed on the sex offenders register.

The legislation to make it a criminal offence in England and Wales came into force following an 18-month campaign led by 27-year-old Gina Martin.

The activist praised the impact of the law on bringing perpetrators to justice but wrote on Twitter that the figures released are “only just ~beginning~ to reflect the scale of the issue”.

Campaigners previously argued that the lack of a specific upskirting law meant that police were unsure of how to deal with allegations so many crimes went unreported.

The new data shows the vast majority of incidents between April and October 2019 involved female victims, taking place in schools, shopping centres and other public places.

Avon and Somerset Police said a 74-year-old woman was among those targeted.

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