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It was announced yesterday that upskirting will become a criminal offence in England, carrying a two-year prison sentence.

The offence of taking photos under a person's clothing without their permission is currently still legal in Ireland, but is illegal in Scotland. 

Gina Martin has been an ardent campaigner for the criminalisation of upskirting for over two years, and said she was exhausted and happy after it was decided the offence became illegal.

The bill passed its third reading in the House of Lords yesterday, meaning upskirting is to be a criminal offence. 

In June, the Ministry of Justice claimed it would support the ban which formed an aspect of the Voyeurism Offences Bill.

Gina Martin, a freelance writer from London, has headed the campaign since her own experience as a victim of upskirting herself at a music festival in 2017.

"I am over the moon. Upskirting will be illegal. After becoming a victim and recognising a gap in the law, I partnered with Ryan Whelan of Gibson Dunn and began 18 months of exhaustive, emotional and life-changing work."

"Now? We have changed the law! I always thought politics was impenetrable but with the right help and willpower you can do it. We did it. We made upskirting a sexual offence!"

"I am exhausted and so so happy!"

Gina said she spotted one of the men who upskirted her sharing the image on his mobile in front of her. Despite grabbing the phone and showing it to police, four days later the case was closed.

The offence will gain a two-year sentence; victims previously had to try other avenues to get justice, such as outraging public decency.

We think it's high time this became a legal offence in Ireland. Congrats Gina, you're one badass lady.

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In a progressive and necessary step, the UK Government is pledging to support the criminalization of upskirting.

The act of taking a picture or video footage up a woman’s skirt without her consent or knowledge has been a grey area until recently. 

Gina Martin, who launched the campaign to make upskirting illegal after she was the victim of the heinous act, shared her delight on Twitter at the move: 

Gina previously shared her story on being a victim of upskirting earlier this year – telling This Morning how poorly the incident was dealt with by police. 

Gina was at a music event when a man stuck his phone under her skirt and snapped a picture. After grabbing his phone and reporting it, nothing was done. 

The image was deleted, and the police could not take action as it was not technically a graphic image as Gina was wearing underwear. 

Katie Ghose, chief executive of Women's Aid, told The Independent: 'We welcome the Government taking decisive action to make upskirting a criminal offence.'

'This form of abuse is painful and humiliating for victims and often has a devastating impact on all aspects of their lives.'

Last year, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald, informed her party that she is making it a criminal offence to photograph or film up a woman’s skirt without her express consent in Ireland.

The move coincided with the expansion of the definition of ‘revenge porn’ and seeks to deal more effectively with an act known as ‘upskirting’ in addition to the publication of voyeuristic material.

Commenting on the legislative change, an Tánaiste said: “It is important that we ensure our laws can deal effectively with phenomena such as so-called revenge pornography and the publication of voyeuristic material without consent, as recommended by the Law Reform Commission’s report.”

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Three Ireland has come under serious fire today after one of its billboards has been widely criticised.

The billboard reads, “Sorry Vodafone customers It turned out he was a she after you’d used all your data.”

Three Ireland have since apologised for the billboard, stating that they never meant to cause offence. The network explained that the ad is "part of a wider campaign that gives examples of when you can often miss the best bits of TV/films when you're streaming because you've used all your data."

Three highlighted other examples in of their campaign, such as "Sorry Vodafone customers, Ireland scored the winning try after you'd used all your data." 

Twitter has exploded in response with many people viewing the slogan as offensive and insensitive while other people have defended it saying that it is simply implying that by using all your data can miss the crucial ending of movies. 

Meanwhile, other people stressed that the billboard did not intend to cause offence. 

The controversy comes the same day that the Gender Recognition Bill passed through the Oireachtas. Ireland is now the fourth country in the world to specifically introduce legislation allowing trans people to legally change their gender. 

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