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Should Up-Skirting Be A Criminal Offence?

It is in the UK.

The CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre has called for the introduction of legislation to make upskirting a criminal offence.

Earlier this year, upskirting, which is the practice of taking unauthorised photographs under a woman's skirt or man's kilt, was made a criminal and sexual offence in England and Wales. The new legislation will see offenders face up to two years in jail.

CEO Noeline Blackwell says our legislation needs to catch up with technology.

"As it stands right now, this remains wrong and harmful but really difficult for the police to find a way to prosecute it or to hold anyone to account," she said.

"A message has to be sent out by society that it's not tolerated, you do that through legislation."

Back in 2017, then-Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald also set out to make upskirting a criminal offence. During this time, Fitzgerald also confirmed plans to legislate stalking, including cyberstalking, and revenge porn criminal offences. 

The Minister for Justice and Equality went on to welcome the passage of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015 in February 2017 through both Houses of the Oireachtas in a landmark case for sexual offences legislation in Irish government. 

"This is one of the most comprehensive and wide-ranging pieces of sexual offences legislation ever to be introduced and has been a priority for me as Minister for Justice and Equality," Fitzgerald said, on its passing.

"It is an essential piece of legislation that brings additional protections to some of the most vulnerable people in our community. It contains the right laws for these times, laws that will protect victims of the most vicious and depraved crimes.

"The provisions of this Bill enhance and update laws to combat the sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children. It widens the range of offences associated with child pornography to ensure that no one who participates in any way in the creation, distribution, viewing or sharing of such abhorrent material can escape the law.

"Also, the Bill provides greater clarity in relation to the definition of sexual consent for the first time," she concluded. 

The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015 contains:

· New criminal offences to protect children against grooming;

· New measures to protect children from online predators;

· New and strengthened offences to tackle child pornography;

· New provisions to be introduced regarding evidence by victims, particularly children;

· New offences addressing public indecency;

· A provision in relation to harassment Orders to protect victims of convicted sex offenders;

· Provisions maintaining the age of consent to sexual activity at 17 years of age and for a new “proximity of age” defence;

· A provision to criminalise the purchase of sexual services;

· A statutory statement of the law as regards consent to sexual acts.

Main image by @90sanxiety on Instagram

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