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Upskirting' made an offence under the Voyeurism (Offences) (No.2) Bill

House of Lords pass Voyeurism Bill

16 January 2019
Upskirting' made an offence under the Voyeurism (Offences) (No.2) Bill

The House of Lords has passed the Voyeurism Bill, also known as the Upskirting Bill. It is now only waiting Royal Assent before becoming an Act of Parliament. The Bill will insert two new offences in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 to cover the practice known as 'upskirting' – covert photography beneath a person's clothes. The new offences would apply in instances when:

  • Without consent, an individual operates equipment or records an image beneath a person's clothing, whether covered or uncovered by underwear garments
  • The offender has a motive of either obtaining sexual gratification or causing humiliation, distress or alarm to the victim.

The offence will be triable either way. The maximum sentence following summary conviction will be twelve months' imprisonment, or a fine, or both. The maximum sentence following conviction on indictment will be two years' imprisonment. The bill will also ensure that the most serious offenders, where the purpose of the offence is for sexual gratification, are made subject to notification requirements (often referred to as being placed on the 'sex offenders register').

The Bill will apply to England and Wales, and will come into force at the end of the period of two months after royal assent. Scotland amended its voyeurism legislation in 2010 to make upskirting a specific offence.

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