Upskirting to become a crime after House of Lords back the bill

Upskirting to become a crime after House of Lords back the bill

Gina Martin began campaigning to make upskirting a criminal offence after a man took a photo of her crotch at a festival.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Upskirting, the act of taking a photo up someone’s skirt or other clothing, is set to become a crime after being approved by the House of Lords, with offenders to face up to two years in prison.

The Voyeurism (Offences) (No. 2) Bill is now awaiting Royal Assent and will make upskirting a criminal offence in England and Wales, as it has been covered in Scottish legislation since 2010.

The campaign to make it illegal was started by Gina Martin, 26, after it happened to her at a festival 18 months ago.

Speaking after the bill was approved, she said: “The upskirting bill has passed its final stage in the House of Lords, and will now go to the Royal Assent to sign off imminently.

“I am over the moon. Upskirting will become illegal. After becoming a victim and recognising the gap in the law, I partnered with Ryan Whelan, of Gibson Dunn, and began 18 months of exhaustive, emotional and life-changing work.

“Now? We have changed the law. I always thought politics was impenetrable, but with the right help and the willpower you can do it.

“We did it. We made upskirting a sexual offence. I am exhausted and so happy.”

 

'Knicker bunting' 

Ms Martin was at British Summer Time music festival in London when a man put his phone between her legs and took pictures of her crotch.

After informing the police she found out upskirting was not a specific offence.

The bill, picked up by Liberal Democrat Vera Hobhouse, faced delays in June last year after Conservative MP Christopher Chope blocked its progress.

Mr Chope had previously blocked private members’ bills on principle, and he defended his actions saying he objected to bills being passed without proper debate.

‘Knicker bunting’ was hung on his office door in Parliament as protest.

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