It is a sad statistic that as many as 50% of women have experienced some type of sexual assault in their lifetime.
Over the last 4 years in the UK, there has been a rather overdue update to sexual offence law, and now an issue that has caused a lot of damage to women has been highlighted and is now punishable. This offence is known as upskirting.
In this brief guide, you will be introduced to what upskirting is, how and why the law has changed and what you should do if you are accused of this act. So read on to learn more.
What is upskirting?
You can derive a lot of what upskirting is from the title; however, it is not all-encompassing and is a generic name. Upskirting is a very intrusive act that typically involves a person taking a photograph under another person’s clothing without their knowledge or consent. This is done to view the genitals or buttocks with or without underwear.
There has been a rise in the reports of upskirting on public transport, particularly at rush hour, and the new law will capture and punish instances where this behaviour is done to obtain sexual gratification, cause humiliation or distress. Any person of any gender can be a victim of this crime, and it is completely unacceptable. If you have been accused of upskirting, you need to seek the advice of a sexual offence solicitor as soon as possible.
Effect on victims
The act of upskirting is a crime because, in simple terms, it is a humiliating practice that violates the victim’s privacy. Many of the people who have experienced it go on to develop stress-related illnesses, such as anxiety and depression, hence why it is now taken so seriously.
Punishment under UK law
In the UK, if you are found guilty of upskirting, you will face a minimum of 2 years in prison and be placed on the sex offender register for life. Depending on what the prosecution is pushing for, you may also need to pay damages to the victim.
Changes in the law
The law has changed because this crime has gone unpunished in England and Wales for so long, and now it is considered an act of voyeurism, which has been a criminal act in the UK for many decades. The changes have come as a result of protests and victims of this crime pushing for stronger punishments. So, the upheaval is well overdue!
What to do if you are accused
As mentioned earlier, if you are accused of upskirting, you need to seek legal advice as soon as possible from a sexual offence solicitor. They will be able to document your side of the events and aim to have any sentences reduced. Depending on the evidence obtained, they may even be able to get your name taken off of the sex offender register. Remember, if you are accused of a crime, the worst thing to do is ignore it; you need to seek representation as soon as possible for the best outcome.