There have been calls to make ‘upskirting’ a criminal offence in Ireland this week. Following the news that this was made illegal in the UK, the CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre believes the Irish legislation needs to be updated.
Upskirting – taking a picture underneath a person’s skirt without their knowledge or consent – was officially made a criminal offence in England and Wales after campaigners lobbied for years for the UK government to outlaw the practice.
The new legislation means that individuals convicted of photographing or videoing underneath a person’s clothing without their knowledge for the purpose of sexual gratification or causing humiliation or distress face up to two years in prison. They may also be placed on the sex offenders registry.
“As it stands right now, this [upskirting] remains wrong and harmful but really difficult for the police to find a way to prosecute it or to hold anyone to account. A message has to be sent out by society that it’s not tolerated, you do that through legislation,” Noeline Blackwell said on Newstalk Breakfast.
Related: Upskirting is now set to become a crime in England
The practice of this, she said, remains extremely harmful to the victim causing much distress, yet some still view it as a joke.
“This remains wrong and harmful.”
Gina Martin, the woman who launched the campaign to make upskirting a crime after having a picture taken of her underwear without consent at a music festival said: “18 months ago, I was upskirted at a music festival and I decided I wasn’t going to brush it off. I was tired of ‘ignoring it'”.
— Gina Martin (@ginamartin_uk) January 15, 2019
“I felt this was wrong and I was astounded to learn that upskirting wasn’t a sexual offence. I wanted to change this for everyone because the least we deserve is to be able to wear what we want without non-consensual photos being taken of us.”