Northern Ireland

Upskirting: Teachers' union calls for law change

Pencils and a chalkboard in a classroom Image copyright Getty Images

A teaching union is calling for upskirting to be made a criminal offence in Northern Ireland.

A motion in favour of the change received unanimous support at the NASUWT Northern Ireland conference on Saturday.

Upskirting has recently been made a criminal offence in England and Wales.

A proposal to introduce a similar change in the law in Northern Ireland has also been made by the Department of Justice.

A teenager who took upskirt pictures of two teachers at a County Fermanagh school was recently found guilty of committing acts of outraging public decency.

But a legislative change to make upskirting a specific offence in Northern Ireland cannot be made without an executive in place at Stormont.

The NASUWT motion calls for "unsolicited taking of intimate pictures of women and girls - known as upskirting and downblousing - be made an offence in the criminal law".

'We are in limbo'

"The call for the change in the law will come in the motion highlighting the increasing incidence of sexual harassment in the workplace and particularly schools," it said.

"NASUWT research points to women and girls increasingly experiencing sexist abuse and harassment including upskirting and downblousing."

The union will also call for laws that exempt schools from fair employment laws covering religious belief to be scrapped.

Its Northern Ireland president David Baxter said that the lack of a Stormont assembly was adversely affecting pupils and teachers.

"The assembly has the power to make legislation and until Stormont is resuscitated, in whatever form, we remain in perpetual limbo," he said.

"I call on politicians to use every ounce of energy they have to restore governance in Northern Ireland.

"If you don't owe that to yourselves and us then at least you must owe it to our children."

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