This post was edited by 1584austin at 2018-2-20 16:15|
Campaigners have called for urgent changes to the law to make “upskirting” criminalised alongside other sexual offences, as the first official figures on the craze show complainants as young as 10.
Victims, politicians and equality groups have urged the Government to provide “an effective criminal law” for upskirting, which often sees perpetrators escape punishment for taking photographs or videos of a victim’s groin area from beneath their clothing.
There is currently no law banning upskirting, with victims left to pursue voyeurism or indecency claims in a handful of cases.
Campaigners say the situation echoes that of image-based sexual abuse – often referred to as revenge porn – which lingered in a legal grey area until a law was introduced in April 2015 following a national campaign.
It comes as the first official figures on the prevalence of upskirting, revealed by the Press Association under freedom of information (FOI) laws, shine a light on the issues facing police dealing with reports from victims.
Just 15 of 44 police forces contacted had record of any allegations of upskirting in the two years since revenge porn was made illegal, while 14 said there were no records. A further 15 forces either refused or failed to respond.
Those with data showed 78 incidents reported in two years, with 11 resulting in suspects being charged
Campaigners said the true number is likely to be much higher, given the difficulties with police being able to log and investigate in many cases.
There was insufficient evidence to proceed in several cases, including on an alleged sexual offence on a 10-year-old girl in 2015, Avon and Somerset Police said. Locations included public spaces such as nightclubs and restaurants.
Clare McGlynn, professor of law at Durham University and an expert on sexual violence, said the FOI data showed there “are few public places where women are free from this abuse”.
She said: “The Government’s continuing failure to provide an effective criminal law against upskirting breaches women’s human rights.
“We are entitled to protection from degrading and abusive treatment, whether offline or online – and we are entitled to have our privacy in public respected