A campaign started by Gina Martin to make upskirting – the act of secretly photographing underneath a person’s skirt – illegal is attracting much attention currently, with Justice Secretary David Gauke advising that he would be reviewing the current law to “make sure it is fit for purpose”.
At present, offences of this nature would typically be dealt with as charges of voyeurism, contrary to section 67 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. However, voyeurism relates to the watching, photographing or recording of actions taking place in private and specifically for sexual gratification.
Similarly, the other possible charge of outraging public decency requires someone to witness the act. Most incidences of upskirting are unobserved, making it difficult for the relevant authorities to estimate how widescale this behaviour is.
Upskirting has been a criminal offence in Scotland since 2010, when the definition of voyeurism was widened to include it.
Ms Martin began campaigning after an incident of upskirting, where police advised that they would not be able to charge the man she alleges took a photo underneath her skirt of her in public.
Other instances of upskirting involve the victims only discovering the act has occurred when they discover the photographs taken of them uploaded online. It is believed that the youngest person on record who has been a victim of this act is a 10 year old, which of course causes other concerns relating to sexual offences against children.
A parliamentary bill to make upskirting illegal has been tabled by Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse.
You can read more about Gina Martin’s story, and sign her petition (currently over 100,000 people have signed it) by visiting her upskirting campaign.
If you believe that you have either been the victim of upskirting, or if you are being accused of upskirting, contact our legal team now on 01623 397200 for specialist advice.