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‘Upskirting’ legislation approved unanimously by Parliament

The Gibraltar Parliament unanimously passed legislation yesterday to make “upskirting” a specific criminal offence in Gibraltar.

The Minister for Health, Care and Justice, Neil Costa, announced the publication of the Bill in June of 2018, following significant media attention in the UK where a campaign was led by victim Gina Martin.

Ms Martin was at a music festival in London when two men took indecent photographs of her by angling their phone cameras under her skirt when she was distracted.

These images were then shared by the men on WhatsApp.

Ms Martin campaigned for upskirting to be specifically made an offence and a Private Members Bill was submitted to the UK Parliament.

It did not pass its second reading, due to an objection by Sir Christopher Chope who, as a matter of principle, objects to all private bills.

However, after much outrage, Prime Minister Theresa May intervened and adopted the measure as a Government Bill. The UK Bill is still working its way through the Houses of Parliament.

In Gibraltar, this new legislation will ensure that convicted offenders are placed in the sex offenders register, as “upskirting” will be listed as a sexual offence.

“It is important for Gibraltar to criminalise this vile behaviour,” Mr Costa said.

“These odious acts cause victims great distress and humiliation, a fact that this government takes very seriously and is reflected in the penalty that will be imposed on the perpetrators of such behaviour.”

Samantha Sacramento, the Minister for Equality, added: “Upskirting is an invasion of privacy which leaves victims feeling degraded and distressed.”

“We must do everything possible to protect women and girls from sexual offences and ensure that those committing such offences are punished and that perpetrators of this type of offence are added to the sex offenders register.”

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