Taking non-consensual photographs and video recordings of breastfeeding mothers is to become a criminal offence in England and Wales. The new offence carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison.

Voyeurism Is It Illegal

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Proposed legal changes

The Government recently announced two proposed changes to criminal law and procedure.

The first relates to the taking of non-consensual photographs and video recordings of breastfeeding mothers. This will become a criminal offence where the motive is to obtain sexual gratification, or to cause humiliation, distress or alarm. It will be punishable by up to two years in prison.

The second relates to the amount of time available to bring a prosecution for domestic abuse. Ordinarily in assault cases, the prosecution must start proceedings no more than six months after the alleged offence (with the exception of assaults on emergency workers). Going forward, the government wants to extend this time limit to two years where the offence is committed in a domestic context. This is on the basis that “domestic abuse is often reported late relative to other crimes”. The government wants to make sure that “victims have enough time to seek justice and that perpetrators answer for their actions”.

Government wants to ensure “abusers don’t evade justice”

Speaking about the proposed changes, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said: “We are committed to doing everything we can to protect women, make them feel safer, and give them greater confidence in the justice system.”

“We’re giving the victims of domestic abuse longer to report the offence to the police – so abusers don’t evade justice. And we will introduce a new offence to stop people filming or taking photos of mothers breastfeeding without their consent – because no new mum should be harassed in this way.”

Solicitors – England and Wales

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