Upskirting to become a criminal offence
Wednesday 16th January 2019
Yesterday, the government’s Voyeurism Offences (No 2) Bill, which set about criminalising upskirting, was approved in the House of Lords and now only awaits the formality of Royal Assent before it becomes a criminal offence. Women’s Aid, along with other organisations and the courageous campaigner Gina Martin, have long been campaigning for a change in the law and welcome the bill passing through parliament.
Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:
“Upskirting is a harmful and humiliating form of abuse. We have been calling, along with the campaigner Gina Martin, for this to be recognised as a sexual offence. We are very pleased that the upskirting bill has now passed through parliament and is set to become a criminal offence. However, the government needs to go further to protect survivors of violence against women and girls by ensuring that victims of all forms of ‘image-based sexual abuse’, which includes other offences such as so-called “revenge porn”, are fully protected by the law.
“Currently, victims are not receiving the support they need to take their case to court, which means that many perpetrators of image-based sexual abuse are not being held to account for their crimes. One major barrier is that, unlike with victims of upskirting, victims of other types of image-based sexual abuse are not automatically granted anonymity when their case goes to trial. This means that there is the very real threat that by speaking out in court this might result in the abusive images being shared more widely.
“While we recognise the important step taken today will help upskirting survivors get justice, other victims of image-based sexual abuse continue to be left exposed by the criminal justice system. That’s why we are calling on the government to urgently grant victims anonymity in all cases of image-based sexual abuse. Only then will survivors of this form of abuse have the confidence that they will be protected in court and perpetrators of this awful crime be brought to justice.”
If you are worried about your relationship or that of a friend or family member, you can contact the Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge, on 0808 2000 247 or visit www.womensaid.org.uk.
For more information, please contact the Women’s Aid press office: 020 7566 2511 / [email protected]