We always try our best to keep our clubs ‘up to date’ with current affairs that may affect them. We’ve recently been chatting with Marilyn over at Freedom from Abuse CIC, who has been bringing us up to speed on the new laws surrounding Upskirting. Marilyn has very kindly agreed to feature on our blog again, to help inform you about Upskirting and what to do if your club experiences it.
What is Upskirting?
Upskirting is a newer form of sexual/peer on peer abuse.
It’s where the offender takes a photo under another person’s clothing without their awareness or permission. Often, they are looking to view the other person’s private parts. But sometimes, the taking of the photo is their satisfaction. The main reason this offence is so de-humanising for those who experience it, is the feeling of humiliation. Also, up until now, the lack of legal protection.
Is Upskirting illegal?
As of 2019, yes. Upskirting is now against the law, considered a criminal offence and can bring a 2 year sentence under Voyeurism (sexual offences act).
Where does Upskirting happen?
It happens on public transport, in bathrooms with hidden cameras, in schools and workplaces. But schools and workplaces, key areas for this offence, were not covered due to the legal definition of ‘public place’ ruling them out.
The impact of Upskirting
Many victims of Upskirting have described their lives in terms of ‘Before’ and ‘After’. They describe the moment they became aware of what had happened as one of sudden violation and devastation.
Upskirting changes lives & those affected are said to have similar feelings of distress felt by victims of other forms of sexual abuse. Upskirting can have long-lasting effects because once intimate images have been shared, they often remain on the internet forever.
Victims have described having difficulty forming relationships (both on and offline) as they were concerned whether these people will have viewed the images that were taken of them.
The effects of taking or sharing intimate images without consent are constant. We need to recognise the harms of Upskirting, ‘revenge porn’ and all other forms of image-based sexual abuse. Too often, these abuses are dismissed as not really being that significant: ‘just turn your phone off’, or ‘just move on’, being common responses.
It’s time for that to change.
What should I do if there has been Upskirting in my sports club?
As trusted figures in people’s lives, it’s our responsibility to react appropriately to any situation that may cause harm or distress to someone in our care.
If, in any way, you are made aware of such action within your sports club, it MUST be reported to your designated safeguarding or welfare officer, for them to take further action.
As the proof of Upskirting lies in the mobile phones/cameras of those committing the offence, these devices need to be confiscated. The accused, if proven guilty, will be placed on the sex offender register. Please be reminded the criminal age of responsibility is 10 years old.
The Ministry of Justice described the exact act below:
“The Voyeurism (Offences) Act 2019 creates 2 new offences riminalizing someone who operates equipment or records an image under another person’s clothing (without that person’s consent or a reasonable belief in their consent) with the intention of viewing, or enabling another person to view, their genitals or buttocks (with or without underwear), where the purpose is to obtain sexual gratification or to cause humiliation, distress or alarm.”