Upskirting bill: Amendments added to remove "specific" criteria and ensure all forms of upskirting are criminalised

Upskirting bill: Amendments added to remove "specific" criteria and ensure all forms of upskirting are criminalised

Monday, July 2, 2018

The bill to make upskirting illegal will have a second reading in the Women and Equalities committee today, with three amendments.

The committee will hear the new bill before its planned second reading in Commons tomorrow (July 3).

The amendments focus on removing the “specificity” in the draft bill, to make sure all forms of upskirting - the act of taking a photo under a woman’s skirt without her consent - are covered.

They also seek to make the distribution of upskirting pictures illegal, and to have anyone who upskirts a person under 18 to be put on the sex offenders’ register.

Read more: Legal expert calls for upskirting bill to cover all forms of image-based sex offences

Maria Miller, who chairs the committee, told the Financial Times: “We want to make sure that the bill actually covers all forms of upskirting.

“At the moment it is very selective and potentially misses out a significant number of potential victims because it doesn’t cover pictures that are taken to be sold to websites and other media outlets.”

She said the amendments were supported by a cross-party group of MPs.

Upskirting is currently covered by voyeurism and outraging public decency legislation, but certain criteria, such as the image being sexual, a third party viewing it, or it being done for sexual gratification, must be met before it’s considered a crime.

That means that some cases of upskirting have not been brought to prosecution as not all criteria was met.

Gina Martin, who was a victim of upskirting at a festival last year, was told the police were not going to pursue a case against the offender and started a petition to have it made illegal.

A private member’s bill was tabled by Wera Hobhouse MP, but blocked by Sir Christopher Chope, who said he objected to private members’ bills being passed without proper debate.

The government then put forward the legislation.