11:41 GMT +322 January 2019
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    UK Campaign Seeking to Make 'Upskirting' Criminal Offense Gains Momentum

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    The campaign to criminalize "upskirting" is gathering ground in Britain, as the UK government considers creating a specific offense for the act. Justice secretary David Gauke said he reviews the current law to "make sure it is fit for purpose." Clare Mcglynn, professor of law at Durham and a backer of the campaign, explains why a new law is needed.

    Sputnik: Where is this push to criminalize "upskirting" coming from?

    Clare Mcglynn: What's happened is more and more women are coming forward to tell their stories of being in public places, and having people taking images and photos up their skirts without their consent. They're coming out to share these stories and really to say enough is enough, and we need a new criminal law in England and Wales to specifically cover this activity.

    There are laws in Scotland which cover both the taking and distribution of "upskirt" images. What's needed is England and Wales to follow the example already set in Scotland and take action in this regard.

    Sputnik: How far has the campaign come in the fight to criminalize "upskirting"?

    Clare Mcglynn: There is great awareness being raised, the problem is that the ministry of justice in England is so far saying that they do not need to take action and they're saying that the current laws are sufficient. But the reality is that the current law only covers a small number of cases of "upskirting." The offense is called "outraging public decency" which of course, many victims have never heard of and many police have never come across. So there's a lack of awareness and understanding about the current law, which is why we need a very specific offense to cover all forms of "upskirting."

    Sputnik: Many critics of the campaign have the idea that if no one is touched or hurt, then "upskirting" cannot be considered an offense- what would you say to them?

    Clare Mcglynn: From what I hear from victims who've experienced "upskirting," it is a very harmful practice. They feel violated; their privacy has been impinged without their consent. Sometimes images have then been shared with others, and once the images are on the internet, it is very difficult to get them taken down. So these are private, often very sexual images, taken without their consent, and then shared widely, and this can be of significant harm for people. I think all women should be allowed to go to the supermarket and go on public transport, without having to fear that someone is taking images up their skirt. We should be allowed to wear the clothes we want and have our privacy in public respected.

    The opinions expressed are those of speaker alone and do not necessarily reflect the position of Sputnik News.

    upskirting, criminal activity, campaign, United Kingdom
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