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Upskirting prosecutions more than doubled over the second year since legislation introduced

Upskirting prosecutions more than doubled over the second year of the legislation being in force, with CPS analysis finding at least a third of offenders are also committing other serious sexual crimes.

In total, 46 men and one teenage boy were prosecuted for 128 offences under the Voyeurism (Offences) Act 2019 between 1 April 2020 and 30 June 2021. According to CPS analysis, 15 of the men prosecuted for upskirting since last April were simultaneously charged with other sexual crimes – including child abuse, sexual assault, extreme pornography, and wider voyeurism offences.

Shops, particularly supermarkets, remain by far the most common location for upskirting to take place, accounting for 36 per cent of offences since last spring. Streets, parks, and public transport or connected areas made up the majority of the remaining locations where crimes occurred. 

The evidence also shows some men are taking extensive measures to capture images and videos of women without their consent, hiding cameras in shoes or shopping baskets and using photography apps.

In one case, two men who arranged a visit to a shopping centre to upskirt women together and swapped covert images over WhatsApp were also found to have been sharing indecent images of children.

Siobhan Blake, CPS national lead for sexual offence prosecutions, said:

"Despite strict social distancing guidelines over past 18 months, it seems offenders have not been deterred from violating women's privacy in a most degrading manner as they go about their daily lives. These are disturbing patterns of behaviour, with our analysis showing many men are also committing other serious sexual offences, including child abuse. Therefore, I encourage anyone who is a victim or witness of upskirting to immediately report it to the police."

In the two years after the legislation came into force on 12 April 2019, a total of 63 defendants were charged with 175 offences of operating equipment under clothing without consent and recording an image under clothing without consent. This covers only finalised cases, with the vast majority resulting in conviction after guilty pleas.

For the Voyeurism (Offences) Act, click here.

5/12/21