ALMOST one victim a day has reported an upskirting allegation to police since a new law came into effect, including five from Cheshire.

The complainants were among more than 150 alleged victims who reported incidents to police in the first six months since the Voyeurism (Offences) Act came into effect last April.

Four of the Cheshire victims were teenagers, aged between 15 and 17, and one of the incidents took place while the victim was at the supermarket. No charges have been brought in these cases, although some are described as ongoing.

Separate national data from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) data showed 10 men were convicted of 16 offences in 2019.

Gina Martin, the Northwich woman who led the campaign against upskirting after two men took a picture under her dress at a festival in 2017, praised the impact of the law in bringing offenders to justice.

She said: “I felt very emotional when I heard these statistics. It took so long to pass this law and these figures show that the fight is worth it. I knew the law would make a difference, but it only started to become real when charges were announced.

“Upskirting is such a gross violation, and I felt horrendous when it happened to me. That feeling of invasion and then the fear of not knowing what they are going to do with these pictures, added to the fact that there was probably nothing I could do about it. It was so humiliating.”

Since launching the campaign, Gina has spoken to thousands of victims with adults, teenagers, children – some as young as 12 – all asking for advice.

She said: “They were hurt, humiliated and didn’t know if they would be listened to. These figures show the subject is being taken seriously – it’s empowering more victims to come forward.”

But while Gina is glad the issue is still on the agenda and that ongoing investigations are helping to build a picture of the scale of the problem, she says there is more work to be done.

She said: “We tend to not give every day sexual harassment the gravity it deserves, because we see them as individual acts. But they are symptoms of a wider, systemic problem.”

Which is why Gina is focusing her energy in educating people about sexual harassment and assault.

She said: “It will take more than a law change, it needs to be a cultural and societal shift which is why I’m spending time given talks in schools, to community groups, to government delegates to keep the conversation going.

“We have to show up for each other and I’m showing up because as awareness of the legislation grows and more victims come forward, hopefully no one else will have to go through what I did.”