“Upskirting” — the practice of filling up someone’s clothing without their permission — is on its way to becoming a crime in England and Wales after the House of Lords passed legislation that will see offenders face up to two years in jail.
The new legislation was passed by the upper house of Parliament on Tuesday and is now awaiting a rubber stamp of approval of Royal Assent.
Campaigner Gina Martin, who started an online campaign to outlaw upskirting in 2017, said in a statement posted to Twitter that she was “over the moon” that the bill had passed.
“After becoming a victim and recognizing the gap in the law, I.. partnered with Ryan Whelan, of Gibson Dunn and began 18 months of exhaustive, emotional and life-changing work,” she wrote.
“I always thought politics was (impenetrable), but with the right help and the willpower you can do it!”
Under the new legislation, perpetrators would face up to two years in jail and the most serious offenders would be named on the sex offenders register.
The campaign was picked up by Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse, who first introduced the measure to Parliament. It faced a setback in June 2018 when its progress was halted by lawmaker Christopher Chope, prompting cries of “shame” from other lawmakers.
The bill eventually secured government backing after UK Prime Minister Theresa May said she was”disappointed” the attempt to make it a criminal offense did not progress.
Scotland has had its own law on upskirting for almost a decade, while several US and Australian states have legislated against the behaviour and it is illegal in New Zealand and India.