Upskirting is a criminal offence from today

Upskirting will be illegal from Friday (Photo: Shutterstock)Upskirting will be illegal from Friday (Photo: Shutterstock)
Upskirting will be illegal from Friday (Photo: Shutterstock)

A law making ‘upskirting’ illegal comes into force today (12 April).

It is now a criminal offence to take photos underneath another person’s clothing without their consent.

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What is the punishment?

Anybody prosecuted for the offence could face up to two years in prison and placement on the sex offenders register.

The law comes following a campaign lasting 18 months and led by writer and activist Gina Martin, who launched a petition after being upskirted at a festival.

Speaking at the time, Martin said that she was “astounded” to find that upskirting was not illegal.

After a Facebook post detailing her experience went viral, Martin launched an online petition to have her case reopened by the police, which received 50,000 signatures at the time.

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Martin called for upskirting to be made an offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Celebrities backed campaign

Celebrities such as Holly Willoughby and Dermot O’Leary backed the petition.

Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse brought the bill to parliament, and it was backed by the Lords in January and received Royal Assent in February.

Martin welcomed the news on Twitter, saying, “After 18 months of tireless work, today we’ve finally done it.”

Already illegal in Scotland

The law makes upskirting illegal in England and Wales.

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Upskirting was included in legislation in Scotland in 2010, however some critics say that the Scottish law - which has seen 3.5 prosecutions a year - is not fit for purpose.

This article originally appeared on our sister site, Yorkshire Evening Post