Three reports of 'upskirting' in Dorset since new law began

Three reports of 'upskirting' in Dorset since new law began

Published by George Sharpe at 12:01am 12th January 2020.

The number of offences in Dorset's been revealed since it was criminalised last year.

In Dorset, police received three reports of upskirting in the first 182 days after the Act came into force, making it a specific criminal offence punishable by up to two years in prison.

The Voyeurism (Offences) Act was introduced in April last year. Campaigners say upskirting "does not exist in a vacuum", and celebrated the new law for holding potential perpetrators of sexual assault and violence to account.

One of the three alleged upskirting victims was a child between the ages of 10 and 18. Two of the aged 19-25.

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The new law

Campaigners previously complained that the lack of a specific upskirting law meant police were unsure how to deal with allegations, and therefore many crimes went unreported.

Under the new law, a conviction at the magistrates' court would carry a sentence of up to one year in prison and could include a fine.

A more serious offence, tried in the crown court, can carry a sentence of up to two years in prison.

About 43 offenders were convicted in Dorset for not informing police about a change in their circumstances.

The Voyeurism Act also allows upskirting to be treated as a sexual offence and ensure that the most serious offenders are placed on the sex offenders register.

Campaigner Gina Martin, who spent nearly two years fighting to create a specific upskirting law after two men who took a picture up her skirt at a festival in 2017 went unpunished, welcomed the statistics.

She said:

"The Voyeurism Act only came into use eight months ago and the difference in charges and reporting is already up greatly.

"Among those who were charged was a convicted paedophile and a man who police subsequently found had 250,000 indecent images of children.

"Upskirting doesn't exist in a vacuum.

"Sexual assault and violence is all linked, and I'm just so happy this law is holding those who perpetrate it accountable."

Separate data from the Crown Prosecution Service showed that 10 men were convicted of 16 offences in 2019.