Almost 100 cases of upskirting were reported to police in the past year, including incidents involving schools, it has been revealed on the day a new law against the practice took effect.
Freedom of Information requests to police forces in England and Wales found 94 cases last year – up from 78 in 2017 – including one in Leicestershire where female pupils said a teacher had taken pictures up their skirts in the classroom.
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This resulted in a conditional caution following an investigation under the Obscene Publications Act.
Some other cases involve school-age girls, though police did not specify whether the incidents happened at schools.
Under the new Voyeurism Act, upskirting has become a specific criminal offence, punishable by up to two years in prison.
The data obtained by the Press Association came from 25 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales and the total is likely to be higher than 94 as two large forces - the Metropolitan Police and West Midlands Police – did not respond.
Writer Gina Martin, who led the campaign for the new law after herself becoming a victim, said: “The fact that reports are increasing shows that victims feel more empowered and emboldened to report what has happened to them than before the campaign, which is wonderful.
"We hope that people continue to feel comfortable reporting upskirting under the new Voyeurism Act."
Justice minister Lucy Frazer said: "We have always been clear – there are no excuses for this behaviour and offenders should feel the full force of the law. From today, they will.
"By taking decisive action and working closely with Gina Martin and other campaigners, we have ensured more people are protected from this degrading and humiliating practice."
In a case in Enniskillen, a pupil was convicted in February on five counts of outraging public decency for using a mobile phone to take "upskirting" videos of two teachers at his school while they were teaching has been found guilty. He is awaiting sentencing.
As reported in Tes, there have been concerns about the rise in upskirting of teachers by pupils since at least 2016 following a separate case in which a 23-year-old D&T teacher used the Tes community forums to reveal how male students had used their mobiles to take upskirt photos while she was leaning over in class in front of 20 boys.
Four boys were temporarily excluded with phone bans over the incident after a teaching assistant noticed them acting suspiciously. However, the teacher said she had felt “violated” and “threatened” and was “resigned to the fact that my a*** is likely to be all over Snapchat”.