close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
July 4, 2020

Upskirting now a punishable crime in Germany

National

July 4, 2020

BERLIN: German lawmakers on Friday approved harsher penalties for those who film or photograph a woman's neckline or under her skirt without consent. Under the legislation passed by the Bundestag lower house, the crime will be punishable by a fine or a prison sentence of up to two years, foreign media reported.

"To photograph a woman under her skirt or her bustline, is a shameless violation of her privacy," said Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht, adding that such photos and videos also violate rights to sexual self-determination.

'Upskirting' — the practice of secretly taking pictures or footage between a person's legs — has previously not been covered by German criminal law in most cases. Unsolicited pictures or videos of the bust and genital areas have only been punished as an administrative offense met with small fines. Not surprisingly, this hardly deterred offenders. "That is why we are closing a major criminal liability gap," said Jan-Marco Luczak, legal policy spokesman for Germany's government coalition. "We, as legislators, are taking decisive action against it." He added that such acts of assault are humiliating, hurtful and often have a far-reaching psychological impact on the victim.

Lawmakers on Friday also passed legislation which makes it illegal to photograph or film those who have been killed in accidents.

Under the new law, the crime will also be punishable by a fine or a prison sentence of up to two years.

'Upskirting' often occurs in large crowds such as on public transport, at festivals, in clubs and in bars, explained Nils Pickert of Pinkstinks, an organisation which advocates against sexism and homophobia.

For Pickert, the act should be considered as a form of sexual violence.

"There are people who distribute tiny cameras in public toilets to watch and film women," said Pickert.

These images are then deployed for personal use or to be shared with acquaintances or distributed on the internet, he added.