Thursday, March 08, 2018

International Women’s Day: Lib Dems call for government action on “upskirting”

Today, International Women’s Day, Liberal Democrat MP, Wera Hobhouse MP is calling on the government to make upskirting a criminal offence.

The bill will make upskirting, the practice of taking photos of a woman from beneath her skirt, a specific criminal offence. Wera Hobhouse presented the bill to Parliament on Tuesday this week, asking the government to classify upskirting under the voyeurism section of the Sexual Offences Act.

Only a very small number of people have been prosecuted for upskirting and in many cases the police have said that it is very difficult for them to prosecute.

Dame Vera Baird QC from the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners said legislation as it currently stands “is far from clear as there is no specific offence”.

Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, said:

“The fact that this is not a sexual offence in England baffles me, as much as it horrifies me. In Scotland upskirting was made an offence back in 2009. There is simply no excuse for ignoring this issue any longer.”

“Relying on outraging public decency is absurd. It should not matter how public it was or who else saw it. The law should focus on the individual victims and the crime committed against them. It is their body that is being taken advantage of without their consent.

 “As a female member of parliament, I feel it is part of my duty to try and achieve this protection for women across the country.”

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