A total of 16 men in England and Wales have been convicted of upskirting in the 12 months since it was made a criminal offence, the CPS has revealed.
The 16 men were found guilty of committing 48 upskirting offences, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said today. Four of the men received prison sentences for their crimes.
Upskirting officially became a crime in England and Wales a year ago following a successful campaign by Gina Martin. Offenders who take a photo or video under someone's clothing can now receive up to two years in prison. The most serious offenders can also placed on the sex offenders register.
Martin launched the campaign, which included teaming with Refinery29 for a series of articles under the #StopSkirtingTheIssue umbrella, after she was upskirted at a music festival and realised she had no legal means of bringing the perpetrators to justice.
Martin told Refinery29 today that "the fact that we've had one report almost every day and up to 50 convictions in a year is a great start".
"I was told by people in power before the law change that upskirting was not a problem and that the numbers were too low to warrant a law change, but we've jailed convicted paedophiles with this law," she added. "I'll continue to fight for awareness of this problem, but I ask that we ALL be better bystanders and look out for this violating behaviour."
Figures released by the CPS today show that women are being upskirted as they simply go about their daily lives. Of the 48 offences which led to convictions, 33 took place in supermarkets and shops, nine happened on public transport, five took place in the street, and one occurred in a school.
Siobhan Blake, the CPS's national lead for sexual offences prosecutions, said: “This appears to be a particular problem in shops and on public transport, where predatory men are concealing devices to take pictures up women’s skirts.
“This is a serious crime and I am very pleased to see police and prosecutors making regular use of this legislation, with almost 50 convictions secured to date.”
A 17-year-old schoolgirl named Morgan who was upskirted two years ago told the Press Association that young people need to be better educated about the dangers and ramifications of upskirting.
“Some people don’t appreciate the seriousness of it. Now there is a law, if people knew they could go to prison for two years, it might put them off," she said.
"I think the law is fine but it’s the awareness that’s needed – people need to be taught from a really young age that this is wrong, if you were to do this, this is the punishment you will get."