Voyeurism: additional offences

Part of Voyeurism (Offences) (No. 2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:15 pm on 12th July 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice 12:15 pm, 12th July 2018

I reiterate that the Government are introducing this Bill to protect victims. That is absolutely why we have sought to introduce this legislation swiftly.

The amendment seeks to create an additional offence of disclosing the upskirt image, where such an image is caught by the Bill. It would create two defences to this offence, which are the same as those created by the other amendments tabled by my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke for the existing offences in the Bill.

I sympathise with the position of the hon. Member for Dwyfor Meirionnydd on forwarding and sharing upskirting images. I very much share the desire to ensure that victims are protected by the law from this distressing practice and to ensure that the law is sufficiently robust to address this issue. Upskirting is an inappropriate act that we all agree needs to be addressed.

The amendment raises an important question about the distribution of images, but this issue is not confined to upskirting. Sharing images and inappropriate material online is a significant issue; indeed, it is a wider problem than this specific offence.

As the hon. Lady mentioned, there is already good work under way across Government to consider these issues closely. As she said, DCMS has asked the Law Commission to look into the onward sharing of images as part of its review in relation to online abuse, and in May we published our response to the Green Paper on internet safety strategy.

Therefore, although the hon. Lady makes an important point, it seems both prudent and beneficial to be careful not to cut across the ongoing work. It would be better to wait until we know the outcome of these reviews so that we can consider them properly, in slower time, to decide what steps are necessary, if any, to take this matter forward. Tackling image sharing more widely is complex and requires detailed consideration and analysis.