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20 Jun 19
“Upskirting” – English

Our specialist family law solicitor Leah Rhydderch has recently appeared on both the Post Cyntaf BBC Radio Cymru, discussing “upskirting” and the changes to domestic abuse laws.

Upskirting

As of the 12th of April 2019, the Voyeurism (Offences) Act 2019 makes it a criminal offence to take an image or video under somebody’s clothing in order to see their genitals or underwear.  Offenders will face up to two years in prison if found guilty of such offence.

The new offences apply in instances when:

  • Without consent, a person takes pictures beneath a person’s clothing to observe their genitals or buttocks, whether covered or uncovered by underwear
  • The offender has a motive of either gaining sexual gratification or causing humiliation, distress or alarm to the victim

The Act also ensures that the most serious offenders, where the purpose of the offence is for sexual gratification, are made subject to notification requirements (often referred to as being placed on the sex offenders’ register).

Changes to domestic abuse laws

Two million people experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2018. Of these, 1.3 million were women and 695,000 were male. Only 89,091 cases resulted in prosecution.

As a result of new laws that are yet to come into force, the legal definition of domestic abuse will recognise that it goes beyond violence, including victims of emotional abuse and control.

New government legislation will mean that those who abuse their partners by controlling their access to money and through non-physical coercive behaviour, risk prosecution. Economic abuse includes preventing a partner from working or denying a partner access to his/her own bank account.

The draft legislation also bans the practice of abusers examining survivors in a family court (it has already been banned in criminal courts). It will also give survivors special protection when they are giving evidence in court. The law also “create new powers to force perpetrators into behaviour-changing rehabilitation programmes”, and it will introduce a “domestic abuse commissioner” dedicated to combating the problem of domestic abuse.

The new law will create a more effective approach to tackling domestic abuse and will be a welcome change for domestic abuse victims.

Leah Rhydderch is a native welsh speaking lawyer based within the Family Team at Watkins & Gunn.  She specialises in a range of family law matters and can be contacted on 01633 240749.

 

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