Misogyny could be treated as a hate crime under new laws banning upskirting that are due to be voted on by MPs.
Labour MP Stella Creasy is seeking an amendment to new anti-voyeurism legislation that will make taking unsolicited pictures under someone’s clothing a crime.
The Voyeurism (Offences) Bill, which has the Prime Minister’s backing in its current form, will close a gap in the law and allow judges to jail offenders for up to two years.
It is due to go before the Commons on Wednesday.
Ms Creasy’s amendment states it will “ensure that if the crime is motivated by misogyny then that will be considered by a court as an aggravating factor when considering the seriousness of the crime for the purposes of sentencing”.
The amended law would allow a sentencing judge to take into account if the offender “demonstrated towards the victim of the offence hostility based on the victim having (or being presumed to have) a particular sex characteristic”.
This week parliament has a chance to help make sure everyone is free to walk our streets without fear of harassment – ask your MP to back amendment 7 to the voyeurism bill to treat… https://t.co/s964GAX5TV
— stellacreasy (@stellacreasy) September 3, 2018
Ms Creasy said that MPs voting on the Bill had “a chance to help make sure everyone is free to walk our streets without fear of harassment”.
She wrote on Twitter: “Ask your MP to back amendment 7 to the voyeurism bill to treat misogynistic behaviour as hate crime.”
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The amendment has been backed by a number of MPs including Conservative former women and equalities minister Nicky Morgan.
However, if it proves to be controversial, it could lead to further delays for the Bill, which has already suffered a setback.
Conservative MP Christopher Chope single-handedly blocked the Bill when he intervened at an earlier stage in the Commons, prompting widespread criticism.
The Tory grandee said he was acting on a long-held principle that has seen him routinely oppose backbench private members’ bills.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said of Ms Creasy’s amendment: “We already have robust legislation that can be used to protect women from a range of crimes.
“We are determined to see the upskirting bill passed as soon as possible, to better protect victims and bring offenders to justice.”