New legal guidance on street-based sexual harassment


Street harassment such as cyber-flashing, up-skirting or the exposure of genitals in a public place are crimes which can and will be prosecuted, says the Crown Prosecution Service, as new legal guidance is published.  

The guidance comes following a stark report published last year from the All-Party Parliament Group (APPG) for United Nations Women which found 71 per cent of women in the UK have experienced some form of sexual harassment in a public space, but the incident was not reported to police in 95 per cent of cases.

APCC Joint Lead for Victims and Police and Crime Commissioner Donna Jones, said: “We welcome the legal guidance which sets out the guidelines for prosecuting street harassment against women and girls.

“The introduction of this guidance sends a clear message that these acts and any form of harassment or violence against women and girls (VAWG) is never acceptable and will not be tolerated.

“This new legal guidance will help police with more of the tools they need to help bring perpetrators to justice and we hope that it will also give victims the confidence to report acts to the police.  

“These crimes can lead to perpetrators committing even more serious offences therefore the introduction of this new legal guidance is vital in preventing crime and in protecting women and girls in our communities.

“As Police and Crime Commissioners we are committed to tackling VAWG – through the commissioning of support services for victims, behavioural intervention programmes for perpetrators, holding our chief constables to account and bringing about improvements in the criminal justice system as a whole to deliver an end-to-end approach to protect women and girls, long term.

“In March we published our Violence Against Women and Girls Action Plan which sets out our commitment as commissioners and the actions that we will take forward to help end violence against women and girls.”

You can read the full action plan here.


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