Thank you for contacting me about the Voyeurism (Offences) Bill 2017-19.
Upskirting is an absolutely unacceptable practice and I am determined to ensure that such an intrusive act is tackled robustly. Upskirting is a hideous invasion of privacy which leaves victims feeling degraded and distressed. There should be no doubt that such acts are illegal and will not be tolerated.
Although there are existing offences that can be used to punish upskirting in some circumstances, there is a gap in the law. The offences of outraging public decency or voyeurism may be used to capture upskirting, but there may be activities that are not caught by either provision.
I welcome the fact that the Government introduced the Voyeurism (Offences) Bill which will close that loophole and ensure there is no doubt that this activity is criminal and will not be tolerated. For the most serious sexual offences, this law will ensure that the offender is also placed on the sex offenders' register.
On making misogyny a hate crime, I know that the Government is committed to ensuring that the UK’s hate crime legislation is up to date and consistent. It is therefore welcome news that the Government has announced that it will be asking the Law Commission to review the scope and application of hate crime legislation. This includes examining how protected characteristics, including sex and gender characteristics, should be covered by new or existing hate crime law. I am pleased that the Ministry of Justice will provide the necessary funds for the review.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP