A growing number of people are calling for ‘upskirting’ to be made an illegal offence.
The issue came into the public eye after a female festival goer, Gina Martin, became a victim of ‘upskirting’.
‘Upskirting’ is a term for people taking photos of under unsuspecting women’s skirts. There are also similar offences such as ‘down blousing’, where people take pictures of a woman’s cleavage, without her knowing.
Martin was at the British Summertime Festival, where she became aware of a man taking photos up her skirt.
She described the events, saying, “Two men…were taking upskirt photos of my – you know what I mean – without me knowing.”
“They sent them to each other and I saw it on one guy’s phone.”
“I grabbed his phone and ran to security who called the police.”
“After looking at the photos, confirming it was me, and questioning him tey let us go, and we tried to enjoy what was left of The Killers.”
Martin continues, “I got a call five days later saying the case was closed and was told by the Met police, “there’s not much we can do” because “it’s not a graphic image.”
Martin launched a petition to reopen her case and is campaigning to make ‘upskirting’ an official offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. The petition has since received over 50,000 signatures and Martin confirmed that the police had reopened her case.
Despite ‘upskirting’ being common place, the laws are not clear. Perpetrators who have been convicted have been tried under different laws, such as voyeurism, public decency and privacy laws.
While the UK might not have specific ‘upskirting’ laws, several states in the US have introduced laws making it a crime to take upskirt videos. In Japan, although its not illegal to take hidden photos, it is illegal to distribute them.