Upskirting made illegal in UK after campaign by woman targeted at music festival

Gina Martin has led to a change in British law over upskirting. Source: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

A British woman has succeeded in her push to outlaw upskirting after she was secretly photographed and police could do nothing.

British lawmakers have outlawed the practice of "upskirting" - secretly taking pictures up women's skirts - following an 18-month campaign by a victim.

Those found guilty face up to two years in jail, leading campaigner Gina Martin to praise the bill as "politics and society at its best".

Members of the upper House of Lords on Tuesday gave the bill the final seal of approval, and it now only requires the formality of Royal Assent.

Prime Minister Theresa May personally backed the legislation, saying the practice left victims "feeling degraded and distressed".

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, also praised the change in the law. 

The bill was briefly held up last year when a single MP blocked it by shouting "Object!" during a parliamentary vote.

Christopher Chope, a member of May's Conservative Party, claimed he was objecting to the manner in which the bill was introduced, but was met with cries of "shame" from MPs.

100,000 signatures

Martin tweeted that she was "over the moon" about the vote, adding "I AM EXHAUSTED AND SO HAPPY!".

From Liverpool in northwest England, Martin was attending a music festival in London's Hyde Park when a man rubbed against her while his friend lurked nearby.

"Five minutes later, I saw that his friend ... was watching a picture taken very close to a woman's crotch," she told AFP. "I knew it was me immediately."

Martin grabbed the phone and showed the image to police officers, but "they said 'we can't really help you'."

She then decided to campaign to make it illegal, collecting more than 100,000 signatures of support in an online petition.


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