If it is passed, this Bill will amend the Sexual Offences Act and make it an offence to take pictures, or make recordings, of people beneath their clothing without their consent. This is commonly known as “upskirting”.
The Bill will apply where the offender had a motive of either obtaining sexual gratification, or causing humiliation, distress or alarm to the victim.
The Bill will also ensure that, in the worst offences, the perpetrator is placed on the sex offenders register.
Without this Bill, the practice of upskirting does not go unpunished. Upskirting has been successfully prosecuted under the offence of outraging public decency (OPD). However, not all instances of upskirting would necessarily be captured by the existing criminal law. For example, the OPD offence requires at least two people to have witnessed the act, so an instance of upskirting in an otherwise empty train carriage may not be captured.
Additionally, the existing law did not make upskirting a sexual offence and so the most serious offenders were not put on the sex offenders register.
This is a Government Bill introduced by Savid Javid MP.
This Bill is titled “Voyeurism (Offences) (No. 2) Bill” because the original Voyeurism Offences Bill, which was a Private Members’ Bill, was talked out of the House of Commons, and ran out of time to move on to the next stage. This caused considerable outcry from the public and many MPs, and so the Home Secretary agreed to reintroduce the Bill as a Government Bill.
It is hard to argue against the clauses of this Bill, although it was talked out of Parliament before - that was down to an objection by certain MPs about the way that Private Members Bills are handled rather than the content of the Bill.
How to get involved
You can contact your MP or the Home Office.
If I don’t act, will it go through?
As a Government Bill with cross-party support, it is more than likely this Bill will become law.