Four men jailed in first year since upskirting law was introduced | UK news

Four men have been jailed in the year since the upskirting law was introduced in England and Wales, figures show.

Campaigners said the legislation offered a route to justice for victims, but said more work was needed to raise awareness about the seriousness of the issue.

Figures from the Crown Prosecution Service show that 16 men have been convicted of 48 offences since 12 April 2019, following a campaign to create a specific law banning upskirting.

The vast majority of the offences (33) took place in supermarkets and shops, with nine on public transport, five in the street and one in a school.

The law was introduced after a campaigner, Gina Martin, lobbied the government for two years when she was unable to prosecute a man who took a picture up her skirt at a music festival.

Those convicted in England and Wales face up to two years in custody.

Siobhan Blake, CPS national lead for sexual offences prosecutions, said: “It has now been a year since this degrading practice became a specific criminal offence but women continue to be violated as they go about their daily lives.

“This appears to be a particular problem in shops and on public transport, where predatory men are concealing devices to take pictures up women’s skirts.

“This is a serious crime and I am very pleased to see police and prosecutors making regular use of this legislation, with almost 50 convictions secured to date.”

A schoolgirl who had indecent photographs taken of her without consent two years ago said the new law was important, but that many younger people failed to understand the seriousness of it.

The victim, Morgan, now 17, from Birmingham, who asked to use only her first name, said: “I think people think it [upskirting] is a bit of a joke.

“Some people don’t appreciate the seriousness of it. Now there is a law, if people knew they could go to prison for two years, it might put them off.

“I think the law is fine but it’s the awareness that’s needed – people need to be taught from a really young age that this is wrong and if you were to do this, this is the punishment you will get.”

The NSPCC described the law as a “really good step forward” in offering a route to justice for victims and broadening understanding of what sexual abuse is.

But the charity said greater education in schools was needed about what amounts to abuse in an effort to shape behaviour.

Alana Ryan, senior policy and public affairs officer at the NSPCC, said: “We know it’s a lot more complex than just a contact offence – it can occur online, and with multiple people. We are beginning to realise how much of an impact technology is having.

“This law change is really important because it puts a spotlight on that kind of technology and it makes it very clear that taking an image and sharing it is not acceptable.

“It’s really important that we have a legal criminal framework for adult offenders but also an understanding that young people need more education to understand what is and isn’t abuse.

“It’s important children receive help and support if they demonstrate harmful sexual behaviour.”

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