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

We are going to come on to some of the broader questions underpinning the offence. The sad truth is that this is not the first time that people have tried to humiliate, and to humiliate mainly women. This is not the first time that there has been a sense of entitlement to see, to judge and to talk about the privacy of a woman’s body. Do I have confidence that there would be people on the jury who would think, “Well, fair play”? Sadly, that is the society that we live in and we are making legislation in that society. I wish I could be with the hon. Gentleman in having confidence that in the 21st century people would recognise that treating women as pieces of meat for their entertainment is no longer acceptable, but, sadly, both case law and modern society tell us that we still have a long way to go.

The risk for all of us is that we create a loophole in the legislation, where people quibble about whether it was entertaining or not, rather than ask the simple question: did she say yes? Did she say she was happy for it to happen, because it was something she was doing for her career, or whatever? I wager him that we would have a case where we would have that kind of discussion, and ask him to think what it would be like for the victim in that circumstance to have motivation pored over in court, rather than the simple question of whether she said yes or no.

We are not pushing these amendments to a vote today, but we have to recognise that there is a risk that there could be a loophole. There is a risk that we are sending a message from this place that our focus is going to be all about the ins and outs of motivation, rather than on saying that, in 2018, consent and equality are what matters in our legislation and we will introduce legislation accordingly.