Sharing “downblouse” images without permission should be a criminal offence, the Law Commission has said.

The body that advises on law reform said victims of downblousing – the surreptitious taking of photographs down a woman’s top – should be granted lifetime anonymity, to encourage them to report and support prosecutions.

Under current law, acts such as “upskirting” or voyeurism are criminalised, but this would be extended further to cover the abusive act of “downblousing”, as well as the sharing of altered intimate images of people without their consent, including pornographic deepfakes and “nudified” images.

As well as extending and simplifying the law, under the reforms, all victims of abuse would receive lifetime anonymity. Widening these important protections would help empower victims to report and support prosecutions.

Commenting on the reforms for Government, Professor Penney Lewis, the Law Commissioner for Criminal Law, said:

“Sharing intimate images of a person without their consent can be incredibly distressing and harmful for victims, with the experience often scarring them for life.

“Current laws on taking or sharing sexual or nude images of someone without their consent are inconsistent, based on a narrow set of motivations and do not go far enough to cover disturbing and abusive new behaviours born in the smartphone era.

“Our new reforms for Government will broaden the scope of the criminal law to ensure that no perpetrators of these deeply damaging acts can evade prosecution, and that victims are given effective protection.”


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