We need to ban upskirting

Lib Dem members yesterday would have received an email from our Bath MP Wera Hobhouse asking for support in her campaign to get upskirting banned.

If you want to sign the petition, the link is here.

What is upskirting? The OED defines it as “the action or practice of surreptitiously taking photos or videos at an angle so as to see up a woman’s skirt or dress.”

It is sickening and appalling that people even think they have the right to do this!

Wera is calling for upskirting to be made a criminal offence – it already is in Scotland, but not in England and Wales. She submitted a Private Members Bill last month, and is lobbying other MPs to join her in making this shocking practice a crime.

Wera’s advocacy is working. Yesterday it was reported that the Justice Secretary David Gauke is

reviewing the current law to “make sure it is fit for purpose”.

Wera will meet with Victoria Atkins MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, on May 9th to take this forward. The call is for upskirting to be made a specific criminal offence.

The first reading of Wera Hobhouse’s Voyeurism Offences Bill 2017-2019 was on 6th March 2018. The Bill is due to have its second reading of 11th May 2018.

Commenting on the Justice Secretary’s plan to review the law, Wera Hobhouse MP said:

It is great to see that the government are taking this seriously. Upskirting is a horrific crime and it is shameful that it is not already an offence in England and Wales.

Changing the law would see a focus on the victims and the crime committed against them. It would also mean that finally the true scale of this issue can be brought to light. Upskirting causes serious emotional distress and it is essential that victims are given adequate support and recourse.

I will continue to fight for upskirting to be made what it should be: a criminal offence.

* Kirsten Johnson was the PPC for Oxford East in the 2017 General Election. She is a pianist and composer at www.kirstenjohnsonpiano.com.

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  • Phil Beesley 26th Apr '18 - 1:19pm

    Alleged offenders can be prosecuted already for public indecency or order offences. The problem is whether police or prosecutors have evidence to take an allegation to court.

    If a new law is created, the most overt offences — where there is photographic evidence seized from the alleged offender– will be prosecuted. Would a new law help others? Might prosecutions when witness evidence suggests “dodgy behaviour” but without photographic evidence be dropped?

  • Andrew Daer 27th Apr '18 - 8:36am

    Those wanting to know what women’s bodies look like can find what they want on the internet, but obtaining an intimate photograph by stealth has the added appeal of making the perpetrator feel powerful, by virtue of having stolen something he knows was not freely given. The enjoyment of his delusion (that a deeply pathetic act has made him seem powerful) is directly related to the humiliation he thinks he has inflicted on the victim. If he then circulates the pictures to people who know her (for example, in a school or a work environment), he adds a further twist to the inherent sadism. Presumably if she finds out what is happening, that enhances his pleasure even more.
    Some of those who are invited to view such pictures will correctly view the perpetrator as someone who needs help rather than admiration, so even if he is not caught, he may come to realise that taking such pictures gives a clearer view of his own troubled mind than of the intended image he was aiming for. It must be hoped that when culprits are caught in schools and workplaces, the relevant authorities fully express the degree to which this behaviour is outside acceptable social norms.
    Vera’s bill raises an awkward question, however. Where do we draw the line between a newish piece of behaviour being branded as socially abhorrent and it being criminal? Having read of the school teacher who discovered the boys in her class had been sharing upskirt images of her, I sympathise with her distress; criminalising it would be a valuable deterrent. However, hard cases make bad law, and I would prefer to hope that Vera has shone a spotlight on something we can now strive to make unacceptable in all levels of society, by common consent, without the need for legislation.

  • Angela Davies 27th Apr '18 - 10:35am

    I feel that people who upskirt are mentally ill and in need of treatment. I don’t believe any healthy minded individual would engage in such conduct.

  • Angela Davies 27th Apr '18 - 10:40am

    I believe that people who engage in up skirting are mentally ill and in need of treatment.
    No healthy minded individual would engage in such an activity.

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