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The NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union has welcome the passing of the Justice (Sexual Offences and Trafficking Victims) Bill in the Northern Ireland Assembly today. The union especially welcomes the extension of the offence of voyeurism to include up-skirting and down blousing.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said:

“The NASUWT welcomes the passing of the Justice (Sexual Offences and Trafficking Victims) Bill in the Northern Ireland Assembly today.

“The NASUWT has been campaigning for several years to have up-skirting and down-blousing to be made specific offences and believe that these provisions, which will be the strongest in the UK, will help protect women and girls whether they are in the workplace or elsewhere

“The success in our campaigning to protect women and girls couldn’t have been achieved without the brave testimony of those who have suffered abuse at work.

“The NASUWT put on record our thanks to our members for speaking out on this issue which has helped to ensure that this activity is recognised in law as a specific criminal offence.”

Justin McCamphill, NASUWT National Official Northern Ireland, said:

“Having worked with the victims of this conduct over several years, we know that they will be pleased that the law on voyeurism has now been extended to protect women and girls from upskirting or downblousing.

“When the legislation was first introduced the union raised concerns that the Bill as first drafted would have required evidence that the person acted for the purposes of obtaining sexual gratification or humiliating, alarming or distressing the individual.

“The legislation makes it clear that if a person operates equipment under another person’s clothes and is reckless as to whether the other person is humiliated, alarmed or distressed they can be convicted of an offence.

“The union wishes to thank all those who drafted the legislation and gave evidence which supported our case but a special word of thanks is due to Clare McGlynn, Professor of Law at Durham University for her support during the campaign.

Notes to editors

The NASUWT has been campaigning for a change to the law since two NASUWT members were subjected to the practice of up-skirting in a school. A conviction took place in 2019 under provisions relating to outraging public decency but the case highlighted the inadequacy of the law at that time which recognised the public as the victim not those who were subject to the abuse.

 

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