Voyeurism: additional offences

Part of Voyeurism (Offences) (No. 2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:00 pm on 12th July 2018.

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Photo of Stella Creasy Stella Creasy Labour/Co-operative, Walthamstow 12:00 pm, 12th July 2018

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairwomanship, Ms Buck, this fine Thursday morning. I rise partly in response to the hon. Member for Cheltenham. I apologise for being unable to listen to the second set of evidence. The Committee will have to forgive me; I am afraid I had a rather unpleasant medical emergency. Members will be pleased to see that I am back on my feet and trying to respond.

The amendments matter because of a couple of concerns that I want to put on the record. I understand the case set out by the hon. Member for Cheltenham from his experience. Let us take it as a given that everybody on the Committee wants the legislation to pass and be as good as it can be. The challenge and the difference is about whether it will meet that second test. The amendments address a concern that many of us have and that, if I am honest, the hon. Gentleman set out very well in how he talked about the crime and how he believes, given his experience as a criminal barrister, the legislation would be enacted. He did not at any point, even when I prompted him, say that the courts would consider the fact that the victim said, “No, I didn’t consent to this.”

The concern about setting out specific motivations is that it takes the power away from the victim to be the one who defines what happened, and that it is wrong. When we start to include particular categories, we take the conversation away from whether a woman such as Gina Martin, or a man who had a camera put up his kilt, said, “No,” or, when they found out what had happened, said, “That was not something I consented to.” Instead, we start quibbling about the motivations of the perpetrator. We all want to ensure that victims come first in the law.