It has been announced by Justice Minister Lucy Frazer that the Government would back a private member’s bill, introduced to the Commons by Wera Hobhouse, to make ‘upskirting’ a specific criminal offence.
This follows a campaign by Gina Martin who was the victim of ‘upskirting’ during a festival in London last year.
Helen Holder of Kangs Solicitors reports on the proposals.
What Is Upskirting? | Kangs Solicitors Sexual Offences Advisory Team
Whilst there is no legal definition, upskirting can be described as the taking of unauthorized photographs under a person’s clothing without consent.
The exact wording of the offence and how it can be committed will become known once the legislation has been passed.
The Current Position | Kangs Criminal Defence Solicitors
As there is no law banning upskirting in England and Wales at present, reliance has been placed upon the offence of outraging public decency or as a crime of voyeurism.
Whilst there have been successful prosecutions brought in these circumstances, campaigners have argued that the existing law is totally inadequate.
The incoming offence will bring England and Wales in line with Scotland where the offence was introduced in 2010, under the definition of voyeurism.
The substantial growth in the commission of this activity arises substantially from the ever developing quality of cameras built into modern mobile phones.
What Will Be The New Penalties? | Kangs Criminal Defence Lawyers
Until the legislation is passed, the details will not be known but it is anticipated that:
- the offence will be ‘either way’ i.e. it can be tried in either the Magistrates’ or the Crown Court,
- the maximum sentence will be two years imprisonment.
- the most serious offenders will be placed on the Sex Offenders Register.
Who Can I Contact For Advice & Help? | Kangs Sexual Offences Defence Team
It is imperative that you instruct an experienced solicitor as soon as you are made aware of an allegation being made. Crucially, it is always important to have a solicitor present in interview at the police station whether it is an interview by appointment or under arrest.
To discuss an allegation of a sexual offence in further detail, please contact: