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Five teenage girls victims of upskirting in Cornwall and Devon

Five teenage girls victims of upskirting in Cornwall and Devon

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 6:31am 10th January 2020. (Updated at 10:37am 10th January 2020)

More than half a dozen cases of upskirting have been reported in Cornwall and Devon since a new law came in.

Taking photos under someone's clothes without consent became an offence last April.

Five of the alleged victims here were teenage girls, one of them aged just 13.

No suspect was found for five of the cases, although two remain under investigation by Devon and Cornwall Police.

The first figures on the impact of the Voyeurism (Offences) Act, obtained by a Freedom of Information request by the PA news agency, show that almost one victim a day has contacted police across the country since its introduction.

In Devon and Cornwall, police received seven reports of upskirting in the first 182 days after the Act came into force.

Across England, 153 allegations were made over the period, although two large police forces - London's Metropolitan Police Service and Bedfordshire Police - refused to respond to the information request, meaning the true number could be much higher.

skirt
Five teenage girls have allegedly been victims of upskirting in Cornwall and Devon - one of them aged just 13

 

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.

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.

"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."

Gina Martin, campaigner

skirt
There have been half a dozen cases reported to police here - since a new law came in last April

 

What does the new law mean?

The vast majority of incidents involved female victims, taking place in schools, shopping centres and other public spaces.

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, it is now a specific criminal offence punishable by a prison sentence.

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.

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.

You can find all the source data here.

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