Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

09.05 15 Feb 2019


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Main image: Dublin Rape Crisis Centre CEO Noeline Blackwell. Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

The CEO of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre is calling for the introduction of legislation to make 'upskirting' an offence.

This week 'upskirting' - a term referring to unsolicited photographs being taken up a woman’s skirt - was made a criminal and sexual offence in England and Wales.

Offenders could face up to two years in jail and be put on the sex offenders’ register.

The new UK laws came in the wake of a campaign led by Gina Martin, who had upskirt photos taken of her taken at a music festival in 2017.

More than 100,000 people signed Gina's petition calling for upskirting to be made a sexual offence.

The new laws will come into full effect in England and Wales from April, BBC reports.

'Wrong and harmful'

Noeline Blackwell of the Rape Crisis Centre here said that legislation in Ireland needs to catch up with technology.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, she said her organisation is hearing about upskirting in two ways.

There are people who are "distressed and upset" about such images being taken and shared, and then others who believe it's funny.

She argued: "This remains wrong and harmful.

"But [it's] really, really difficult for police to find a way to prosecute it or to hold anyone to account for it.

"Technology is moving so fast that we have to have quick responses to it."

Ms Blackwell observed that 'Peeping Toms' have always existed and been dealt with.

However, she noted that technology such as tiny cameras have created new issues.

She added: "A message has to be sent out by society that it's not tolerated. You do that through legislation.

"I would also say to people: would you just cop on to yourselves. [Upskirting] is not fun, and people should stop other people thinking it's OK."


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