Bill outlawing 'upskirting' in the UK receives royal assent

Queen Elizabeth II signed off Tuesday on a bill criminalizing “upskirting” in England and Wales.

The British government announced that the bill has received royal assent, the final step in criminalizing the act of taking a photo up a person’s skirt without their knowledge or consent.

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The new law, which would jail offenders for up to two years and force them to register as sex offenders, was approved by the House of Lords this week after an 18 month campaign from activist Gina Martin, according to the BBC. Police will be able to arrest people for the act beginning in April.

Martin called for upskirting to be outlawed after a man took a photo up her skirt at an outdoor concert in 2017.

Martin has said she reported the incident to police and was shocked to learn that it was not a criminal offense. She later shared her story on social media, where it went viral and prompted other victims to campaign for a law change.

“There's a lot of work still to do,” she said Tuesday, according to the BBC. “A change in law is a huge thing, it sets a precedent but it doesn't change people's opinions.”

"There's a huge job to do in creating narratives around this thing, we still see 'smaller' sexual assaults as not such a problem but it's a massive issue. … It has been a long time coming but we are finally protected in every scenario — as we should always have been."

Prime Minister Theresa May praised the new law, tweeting that she is “very pleased to see the degrading practice of upskirting become a criminal offence after the tireless work of victims and campaigners.”