The Voyeurism Offences Act 2019 has been made into UK law: Read on for an analysis of the changes to your rights, and the legal loopholes that existed before today.
The new Act was originated in June 2018, and comes into force today to amend the Sexual Offences Act of 2003. It adds clear and explicit protection against the offence in the eyes of the UK legal system.
What is upskirting? Voyeurism
Upskirting is a newer form of sexual abuse.
The offender takes a photo under another person’s clothing without their awareness or permission.Often, they are looking to voyeuristically observe their genitals or buttocks – but uniquely, the taking of the photo is part of their gratification. It is the humiliation, assertion of power and lack of legal protection that make this offence so dehumanising for those who experience it. It happens on public transport, in bathrooms with hidden cameras, in schools and workplaces.
The Ministry of Justice described the exact act below:
“The Voyeurism (Offences) Act 2019 creates 2 new offences criminalising someone who operates equipment or records an image under another person’s clothing (without that person’s consent or a reasonable belief in their consent) with the intention of viewing, or enabling another person to view, their genitals or buttocks (with or without underwear), where the purpose is to obtain sexual gratification or to cause humiliation, distress or alarm.”
Young girls as old as seven have been victims of this practice.
The prominent activist Gina Martin (whose work led to the implementation of the law today), was attending a festival when two men took photos of her crotch area without her awareness. Her case tapered off into nothing – the legal framework to identify this new sexual offence had loopholes, which led to the police dismissing this violation. Read more