Update on UK Parliament's 'Upskirting' Bill

Anthea Sully, CEO White Ribbon UK

With the Brexit process taking up parliamentary time and attention, it would be possible to overlook that on the 15th of January the House of Lords will be debating the third reading of the Voyeurism Offences Bill. Aimed at making ‘upskirting’ a defined criminal offence in England and Wales, the Bill has had a bumpy ride in Westminster, including controversial blocking from some MPs.  Laws against the taking of images where consent had not been given, such as 'upskirt' pictures has been an offence in Scotland since 2010, and the issue had been raised for England and Wales over several years, including by some White Ribbon ambassadors. As we reported in June last year, it finally found its way into proposed legislation due to the positive online campaign led by Gina Martin (see video below), herself a victim of upskirting.

The Voyeurism Bill was blocked by MPs back in June 2018

The Voyeurism Bill was blocked by MPs back in June 2018

White Ribbon ambassadors will always challenge attitudes that would see behaviour such as upskirting as acceptable.  Having this clearly set out as a criminal offence shows the serious nature of these activities, and that there is absolutely no excuse to invade someone’s privacy in this way. We firmly believe that this legislation is long overdue and will make activities such as attending music festivals and travelling on public transport much safer for women.