It had its share of setbacks but the UK’s bill forbidding “upskirting” has now become law. The Voyeurism Act officially takes effect in April and gives those who upskirt up to two years in prison if they take photos under a person’s clothing without consent for the sake of “sexual gratification or to “cause humiliation, distress or alarm.”
The worst perpetrators will also find themselves on the sex offenders register. Summary convictions can involve a year in prison, a fine or both. Victims are also entitled to some automatic protections, like keeping their names out of the press for instance.
You don’t hear about this as much these days, but upskirt photos have been prosecuted before as Outraging Public Decency offenses, and they were already specific crimes in places like Scotland. There were some instances where they weren’t necessarily illegal, though. The Voyeurism Act is intended to both cover that gap and send a message to perpetrators.
While there’s no guarantee that this will deter criminals, it should ensure that they face at least some form of punishment. So if you are the type who is thinking about or has committed this crime, think again.