Upskirting Is Finally Going To Be Made A Criminal Offence After Over A Year Of Campaigning
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: Gina Martin/Twitter
Upskirting is finally going to be made a criminal offence in England and Wales after a woman launched a campaign 18 months ago when she was targeted at a festival.
Offenders could face up to two years in prison now that the new legislation has been approved by the House of Lords, and the bill only needs the formality of Royal Assent, which is expected to happen in the spring.
Gina Martin, who has been leading the campaign, said: "Eighteen months ago, I was upskirted at a music festival and I decided I wasn't going to brush it off.
"I was tired of 'ignoring it'. I felt this was wrong and I was absolutely astounded to learn that upskirting wasn't a sexual offence.
"I wanted to change this for everyone because the least we deserve is to be able to wear what we want without non-consensual photos being taken of us."
Upskirting - the practice of taking of sexually intrusive photographs under someone's clothing without their permission - is already a crime in Scotland and has been since 2010.
This new bill will come under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for England and Wales.
After campaigning for over a year, Gina said that the decision was "politics and society at its best".
Gina was attending British Summer Time music festival in the summer of 2017 in London's Hyde Park when a man used his phone to take a photo of her crotch while waiting to watch The Killers on-stage.
After realising what had happened, Gina snatched the phone and presented it to police but was shocked to learn that upskirting was not a criminal offence - the case was closed four days later.
Gina wrote on Facebook about what had happened to her, and the post quickly went viral with other women sharing their own experiences of being upskirted.
Me and Ryan are dead. We are so tired and so so so happy :boom::boom::boom::boom::boom: pic.twitter.com/Efwn75cHHR- Gina Martin (@ginamartin_uk) January 15, 2019
A petition to get her case reopened received 50,000 signatures and her battle began.
Before, victims who were upskirted could be pursue legal prosecution through public decency or harassment, but the chances of conviction was hard.
Gina added: "I knew it would become illegal because we were legally right, secured Government backing and had the support of good people across the country.
"Regular people can make change. We've done it. We have made upskirting a sexual offence."