Today (12 April), upskirting has been formally made a crime in England and Wales, after a campaign by a woman who experienced it at a festival.
Activist and author, Gina Martin, launched the campaign after a man took a photograph of her and sent it round a crowd of friends at a music festival.
WHAT IS UPSKIRTING?
Upskirting is the act of taking a photograph of someone’s underwear or genitals from under their clothing, mainly skirts or dresses.
The act of upskirting has been a criminal offence in Scotland since 2010, but it is heartening to see the rest of Great Britain follow suit, in a move that is another step closer to gender equality.
Offenders will now face up to two years in prison.
It’s called upskirting.
— Ministry of Justice (@MoJGovUK) April 11, 2019
In the run up to the announcement that the action would be made a crime, an investigation took place, to determine the extent of the issue.
Reports to the police had increased over the last four years, with 25 of the 43 police forces that returned data to the Press Association noting reports of upskirting.
There were 94 reports in 2018 – up from 78 in 2015–2017, with the ages of victims ranging from women and girls seven years old to 70.
I have been ~BURSTING~ to tell you all this: The Government is with us!! @LuzyFrazerMP met with me, @ryantwhelan and @Wera_Hobhouse this week and the Gov. is well and truly committed to closing the gap in the law. They are passionately backing my campaign and our bill! 😭🍾 pic.twitter.com/BOzZrBrEj5
— Gina Martin (@ginamartin_uk) June 14, 2018
It’s also estimated that actual numbers are higher, due to the number of incidents that go unreported. It’s important to note that the two largest police forces in the UK – the Metropolitan police and West Midlands police – did not return the request for data.
Earlier this year, it was also proposed that upskirting be made a criminal offence in Northern Ireland.