People who photograph breastfeeding women without their consent risk two years in prison after a campaign by Labor MP Stella Creasy prompted the government to consider new laws
- People Who Photograph Breastfeeding Mothers Without Their Consent Risk Jail
- Justice Secretary Dominic Raab says ‘No new mum should be harassed’ like this
- Labor MP Stella Creasy’s campaign has pushed the Tories to consider two-year terms
- The proposals come after a law banning upskirting came into effect in 2019
People who photograph nursing mothers without their consent could face up to two years in prison under a proposed law change.
Victims of domestic abuse will also have more time to report to the police under amendments to the Policing, Sentencing and Courts Bill introduced by the government on Tuesday.
The decision comes after Labor MP Stella Creasy, 44, campaigned for legal reforms after she was pictured breastfeeding her baby on public transport.
Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said: ‘No new mum should be harassed in this way. He added: “We are committed to doing everything we can to protect women, make them feel safer and give them greater confidence in the justice system.”
Labor MP Stella Creasy, 44, (pictured) campaigned for legal reform after she was pictured breastfeeding her baby on public transport
The plans come after a law banning upskirting came into force in 2019.
The Voyeurism Act prohibits taking a picture under someone’s clothes without their consent, but it does not specifically cover women who must remove their clothes to feed a baby.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has said that ‘taking non-consensual photographs or video recordings of nursing mothers’ would become a ‘specific’ offense of breastfeeding voyeurism in England and Wales, punishable by up to to two years in prison.
It said it would cover “situations where the motive is to obtain sexual gratification or to cause humiliation, distress or alarm”.
Justice Secretary Dominic Raab says ‘No new mum should be harassed’ by people taking unwanted photos of her breastfeeding
The Justice Department added that creating the specific offense gives “police and prosecutors the clarity and powers they need to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice.”
Domestic Abuse Commissioner Nicole Jacobs has welcomed another amendment to the Bill which will give victims in England and Wales more time to report assaults to prevent abusers from escaping justice.
She said: “This is particularly important in the wake of Covid restrictions, when many victims faced additional difficulties in seeking help and reporting domestic abuse.
“I want to see an increase in domestic violence prosecutions and I hope that because these measures remove another barrier to bringing perpetrators to justice.”
The time limit for common assault cases is currently six months, which means that a prosecution must be brought in court within that time from the date of the alleged offence. This could be extended for up to two years.
Such cases may involve violence or threatening behavior that causes someone to fear being assaulted.
They can often include things like being spat on, pushed, or slapped. Cases are generally handled by the magistrates’ courts.
Activists have argued that police should be given more time to bring charges because domestic abuse cases can be complex and victims may be reluctant to come forward.
People who photograph breastfeeding women could face two years in prison under new laws (Anthony Devlin/PA)
The Voyeurism Act prohibits taking a picture under someone’s clothes without their consent, but it does not specifically cover women who have to remove their clothes to feed a baby (file photo)
Yvette Cooper, Labor Home Secretary, proposed an amendment to the changes last year after working with a woman in her constituency of Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford who reported to police ” repeated domestic violence, but was told she had run out of time and nothing would be done”.
She said: “We have put enormous pressure on the government to lift the deadline, so I am glad they have now accepted our proposal to prevent victims of domestic abuse from being brought to justice. “
“We will keep the pressure on for more action.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: ‘Every department of government is working to address and address all issues relating to violence against women and girls’, adding that the amendments ‘place the voice of victims at the heart of our decisions”.
The plans will now be considered by Parliament.