First year of upskirting law generates two reports, no prosecutions
PUBLISHED: 17:04 27 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:04 27 May 2020
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Campaigners want more done to encourage victims of voyeurism to come forward after just two offences were recorded in Suffolk during the first year of a law against upskirting.
Police said both cases had been diligently investigated to an appropriate outcome for the individuals involved.
The force said there was no room in society for such “totally inappropriate” behaviour and promised to investigate all incidents where possible.
But more effort has been called for to ensure people know what constitutes inappropriate behaviour from an early age.
Upskirting became a specific offence under the Voyeurism Act last April and typically involves someone taking a picture under another person’s clothing.
In the first year of the Act, just two crimes were recorded – one investigated as far as possible with no suspect identified, while the other encountered evidential difficulties despite a named suspect being identified.
Given the limited number of reports, police said it was not possible to comment on the degree of ease with which crimes can be solved, but that all necessary lines of enquiry will be pursued.
The offence had previously been prosecuted under legislation for outraging public decency, but became law following a campaign by activist and upskirting victim Gina Martin.
The NSPCC called the law a good step forward for victims and in broadening understanding.
Alana Ryan, senior policy officer, said: “Having a specific upskirting offence shows government and police are treating this form of abuse with the seriousness it deserves, but more needs to be done to ensure victims know it is a crime and feel able to report this abuse.
“The fight against this toxic culture of harassment needs to begin in schools. The new relationships and sex education curriculum rolled out in September will see all children taught what constitutes abuse and inappropriate behaviour, and their right to be treated with dignity and respect.”
A police spokesman said: “There is no room in society for this form of totally inappropriate and voyeuristic behaviour which can cause distress and a strong sense of violation to the victim.
“Members of the public should report any incidents of concern and where possible we will investigate them.”
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