People taking upskirting pictures and videos will now face two years in prison and being placed on the sex offenders register. A new law making upskirting a specific criminal offence received Royal Assent (Tuesday 12 February).
Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk had supported a proposed Private Members Bill on upskirting which controversially did not pass a second reading in June 2018. The Government then intervened to bring forward measures to tackle this behaviour.
Mr Chalk was then chosen to serve on the specialist Parliamentary bill committee, set up to scrutinise and advise on the legislation, Voyeurism (Offences) (No. 2) Bill, line-by-line.
The Bill has since successfully passed through both Houses of Parliament. From April, police will be able to arrest people on suspicion of upskirting.
Alex Chalk said:
“Upskirting is a horrible invasion of privacy. It leaves victims feeling degraded and distressed. I’m delighted that I was able to help shape this legislation. It sends a strong message that society will not tolerate sexual harassment or abuse in any form”
Gina Martin who led the public campaign against upskirting said:
“After 18 months of tireless work, today we’ve finally done it. As the Queen formally agrees to make our bill into an Act of Parliament, we should see this campaign as not only essential legislative change, but also proof that normal people and grassroots campaigning can make a real difference.
It’s a reminder to, instead of saying ‘someone should do something about this’, be that someone.
“By the end of the day upskirting will be a specific sexual offence and within a few months our law will be useable. It has been a long time coming but we are finally protected in every scenario – as we should always have been.”